Sunday, July 19, 2015

Garden Notes

So remember how I snapped off about half of one of my tomato plants while I was getting the cages on, and really wasn't sure if it would pull though?

Well, it's now the heartier of the two plants, both of which had to go to tier two of the tomato cages today.     I also bit the bullet and got the steel fence posts in while I was at it.    

I don't know what kind of crack that particular farm feeds these seedlings, but they've got me as a customer for life because of it.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fort Williams, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

More fun with the new camera - combo of macro, zoom, and playing with the ISO/aperture.   (This was after work, so the sun was starting to head down in the sky, and the light was definitely different.

What I love about this camera is I have two custom setting available on the setting dial, so I can set one for the macro, and have it go right back to non-zoomed, already set for macro with regular ISO/aperture etc, with just a twitch of the dial.

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

I’ve been sitting on this book for a  while – my only other experience with this author was the movie version of The Remains of the Day, which I loathed.    (I think that was a case of seeing something with the wrong expectations or in the wrong mood – it’s been long enough I can’t remember exactly.)      Still, I was really intrigued by the premise of the book, so finally made myself take it off the shelf.     I am really glad I did, it’s wonderfully written, and treats what could be a very depressing story with a light, thoughtful hand.

The basic premise is that a woman named Kathy is looking back on her life growing up in what first comes across as an English boarding school.      But as she goes into more detail (or if you’ve heard enough about the book beforehand), you know there’s something special about this place.     What first comes across as a bunch of orphans in a home are actually clones, bred to provide organ donations, and Hailsham is one of the places where they’re brought up.    

You can tell that there’s something special about Hailsham – Kathy gives you enough clues up front so you realize all clones aren’t brought up this way.      Hailsham seems to be an experiment to raise the clones as whole people.

So what you get is a meditation on growing up, and finding your place in this world, despite the fact that Kath and her friends have a pre-ordained place.    It’s just a really lovely story – makes you think a lot about growing up, and becoming the people that we are as adults.

I probably won’t see the movie on this – I think the interior mediation you get from the book was far more meaningful to me.

Calling on Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede

I have to admit, I’m a little sad I only have one book left in this series.   I know I can count on these books when I want to be amused and entertained.

The Wizards are up to their old tricks with the Enchanted Forest, and since Queen Cimorene is pregnant, everyone else is trying to make sure she doesn’t overdo it.     So the witch Morwen and the Sorcerer Telemain are more or less in charge in this book, with Kazul, Mendanbar and Cimorene there to help.

What I enjoyed most in this book are Morwen’s cats.    Now, they’re not proper witches’ cats, as there’s more than one of them, and none of them are black.     What they are is a raft of sarcastic siblings, and I love them.       Morwen’s the only one that can actually understand them, so their asides about the other characters are wonderful.      Honestly, the cats make the book.    I don’t even care what happened so much, because I was getting a kick out of the cats.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Garden Notes

A few things from the garden, courtesy of my new camera.    I'm already loving the macro function.

The Well of Tears - Cecilia Dart-Thorton

I still love this author’s use of language – she reminds me of Patricia McKillip – her landscape descriptions are amazing.     I loved the first trilogy of hers that I read.     I’m finding this series a bit more of a slog.

The series is basically the story of the descendants of a rather nasty sorcerer, who gifted his descendants with invulnerability.    However, they pretty quickly repudiate all he had stood for, and in fact, Jarred, the hero of the last book, only finds out that he’s Jaravhor’s descendant in adulthood.

This book is the story of Jarred’s daughter Jewel, forced to flee the marshes where she was born after the tragic death her parents, who were themselves trying to flee the local king, who wants Jarred to open the sorcerer’s keep for him.

Jewel finds her way north, out of the kingdom of her birth, to the mountain home of the Weather Masters.     There, she’s taken in, and grows to adulthood.    But there are at least a few people that know that Jarred had a child, and through trickery, Jewel is convinced to open the Sorcerer’s keep.     There, she does not find the rumored rooms of treasure, but instead, a puzzle, that just might lead to eternal life.

Where this becomes a slog is how much happens in this book.     Just when you think that surely the main point has come and gone, some other side quest, or issue comes up.   It’s not that I don’t like the story, but I think it could have done with a bit more breaking up.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Scarborough Marsh, Scarborough, ME

It was a bit of a murky 4th, as you can see from the pictures.    Still, we had a lovely walk on the path through the marsh - there were plenty of birds about, and more than enough flowers to keep me happy.