Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park, Freeport, ME








Tiny periwinkles hanging out in some of the larger empty barnacle shells.


We were up here in order to show a friend from Arizona some good, quintessential Maine coast.     And we happened upon one of the best spring tides I've ever seen in Casco Bay.     There's a little island just off the park coast with an osprey nest - you could have walked out there completely dry.    I've never seen that before.     So that ended up being a fortuitous stop.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography - Laura Ingalls Wilder, ed. Pamela Smith Hill

I didn’t think I’d get this book.    I won it through EarlyReviewers back in November.    I was totally psyched – I have very warm memories of my mother reading the Little House books to my sister and me when we were little.  

You generally don’t get those books for at least a month or so, so I wasn’t surprise to not get it immediately.      And then I saw this.   (Quick paraphrase: the South Dakota Historical Society had no idea how popular this book was going to be, and there were nowhere near enough printed for the demand.)     Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled at the attention the book was getting.     But I figured that meant there was no way I’d be getting my free copy.     So when I come home a few weeks ago and found a package from the South Dakota Historical Society, I knew it couldn’t be anything else.      There may have been actual squeeing involved.

So what this is is the original format that Laura Ingalls Wilder put down her life’s story in.     They’ve left in the little notes she put for her daughter (who was a more famous author than her mother in their lifetime, and was her mother’s chief editor),  some of which are just incredibly sweet, like where she notes that Rose was named for the prairie roses they found on the homestead in South Dakota.     The story was reordered, and embellished a bit in some cases, to make the Little House books.

There are also more foot notes than you can shake a stick at, that give you background information on just about anything you could possibly desire – they tracked down every person that was mentioned though census information, if they could.      Any possible historical detail was chased down, if they could.     It’s like footnote porn:  you get about three pages of notes to one page of text.

The footnotes also talk about why things were changed for the more fictionalized version that become the books.     It’s a really fascinating look into the writing process.       I have a much greater appreciation for those books, having read this one.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mackworth Island, Falmouth, ME












Garden Notes



Aren't those just the cutest mutant carrots ever?    And I have beets!    (And really, beet greens!)    I harvested both of these containers because they were really getting in the way of me getting to the tomato pots.   Plus, since I'm not the kind of person willing to start my carrot bed a year ahead of time, it's not like they were going to get any longer, or any straighter.



In other news, I've tried a few extra tricks to try and straighten up the tomato cages.     I don't remember having to do this last year, so I think I must have done an interim step, pre-steel fence posts, that kept them pretty steady once the posts were in.   The funny thing is, they're not quite as big as last year, but I don't remember last year's being quite as tippy.

I also move the Swiss chard in amongst the chives, to get them away from the tomatoes.    This did involve replanting one chard plant that had managed to get into the beet container, so here's hoping that survives.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Knitting Notes




Pattern: Arianrhod by Sue Lazenby
Yarn: Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud in Blossom Heather
Needles: Size 4 circs and DPNs

I finally got around to blocking my sister's shawl this weekend.   (It's an ideal activity while waiting for a coworker to drive in and pick up our old couch to go to the dump.)    

I'm really pleased with the blocking - it really needed it to show the pattern to its best advantage.    It looks so lovely now.   I can't wait to send it off to my sister.    (I need to make a bag for it, and I noticed one end I had not yet woven in - so a tiny fix there first.)

The Elenium and Tamuli - David Eddings

I’ve been rereading the Elenium and the Tamuli, which I won’t do a full write up by book.  But I wanted to say a few things.   First:  the Belgariad and the Mallorean are still Eddings' better works, but these two series are very readable.

Second, and I don’t know if it’s because a friend recently started a blog to talk about religion in books, but I really got a kick out the religion in these books, this read around.     The religion is overt – the main character is a member of an order of Church Knights of a Church remarkably like the Catholic Church (heck, the first series is based on the political consequences of the machinations, er, process of choosing the next equivalent to the pope).  

What I love is that while that church likes to pretend their God is the only God, they’ve had to admit there are others out there.     One of the other peoples of the world has a pantheon of a 1000 gods (and those are just the younger gods of their people), and the Church Knights actually utilize those gods to do magic to defend the faith.     What the Church Knights realize, and pretty much have to forgot to mention to the rest of their people, is that magic is really a direct appeal to those gods, and in fact, the patron goddess of the particular order the main character belongs to decides to take a very direct hand in events, and manifests herself.    What makes this even more fun is that she chooses to be a child, knowing full well the power over people this gives her.

The second series brings in a whole other sets of divinities (serving the next continent over), and this is where some religion’s lack of ecumenism gets hilarious, because there are clearly multiple gods about (including the gods of the Trolls, who are intelligent enough to have gods, even if those gods are rather limited, and even the ghosts of gods whose worshipers have died out, leaving them as empty shells).   They even touch on evolution, which makes it clear that the gods don’t really have an influence over the creations of worlds.   (Don’t worry – that is explained.)

I guess what I liked about this is that it takes an idea in fantasy (multiple gods and goddesses) that definitely has arguments about validity in the real world (and I will not go into that – I know my beliefs, but I’m not taking sides), and very cleverly wraps things up in such a way that anyone could be happy with their beliefs in this world (even the people that only believe in their own one god).      There are days I wish our world was like that.