Jane, the original owner of my house, planted a lovely garden on the best spot for one: a sunny westerly hillside that is sheltered from the wind. Plants love the sun, the drainage, and the protection. Jane filled the garden with a selection of plants that flowers throughout the summer. It is beautiful, and it is right outside my office.
But the garden has a few ground covers that think they can control things. They surround and strangle everything in their path. One, with red berries and small shiny leaves of deep green, was very attractive but I pulled it out last spring and replaced it with a mix of annual and perennial flowers.
Today I started removing the two remaining ground covers, a blue-flowering plant that was also a pest where I lived in California and another plant, with boring little leaves and tiny spidery black stems. I'll be glad when these are gone, though I'll still have the occasional blackberry vine popping up.
Music for the day. Bridal Trilogy 2.
The berries in the picture are Albion strawberries from my greenhouse. I don't have a lot of success growing fruits and vegetables so I celebrate when I get something edible, and these are very edible. I started with a box of dry-rooted plants a few years ago and by the second year they were producing beautiful red berries like crazy. Not as sweet as the Quinault and Ever Sweet I added this year but boy these Albions are prettier. I thought they were done for this year, they looked tired and the few berries were devoured by pill bugs, but suddenly the bugs went away and the plants took off.
Along with pondering ways of eating strawberries I've been listening to two deliveries of Ulysses. I started the audible.com Ulysses read by Jim Norton on June 16. Soon afterwards I added Frank Delaney's re: Joyce podcast. Five weeks and 48 podcasts later I'm approaching the end of chapter one. So far Joyce has maintained my interest. At this pace I don't know how long it will take to complete the book but at least I am getting to know Joyce's stand in Stephen Dedalus, Buck Mulligan, the Englishman Haines, and a bit of Irish history, especially vis-a-vis the Brits.
I'm also working my way through Duolingo. No, I'm not doing Irish, I'm doing French and Spanish - I'm on a 50-day streak - and occasionally I do a lesson in Portuguese or Dutch. I hesitated to jump into two languages at once but I've found it not as confusing as I feared.
Adios and au revoir.
The photo is of my first-ever success with lettuce. I've a bumper crop of tasty green leaves. I've so much lettuce, when friends visit I beg them to take some home.
You'd think I'd done this by now. I've mentioned that I grow tomatoes and basil and strawberries. But I've I stubbornly insisted on growing lettuce outdoors, refusing to acknowledge that Otter Point, Canada, is just too cold for lettuce. No longer. I planted some in the greenhouse and viola, I've all the salad I can eat.
Speaking of the greenhouse, when I'm in it I'm usually listening to something on my iPhone via a little bluetooth speaker and recently my aural entertainment was Tom Hollander's spot-on reading of A Clockwork Orange. O my brothers, this is an excellent performance.
I'm so inspired by Alex, the main in Clockwork, that I'm listening to a malenky* bit of his fave composer Ludwig van, the Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13. As Alex would say, it's horrorshow.
*See the Nadsat dictionary.
I do love this time of year, if only for the flowers. The very blue sage is my favorite, and it'll bloom until fall. The bright orange poppy, on the other hand, provides the briefest of shows. The fragile flowers quickly fall apart from the wind.
Here's a photo of the green house bursting with basil, greens, strawberries and tomatoes. It's a nice time of year if you are a plant lover.
The photo, a not-very-impressive panorama --- see how the table is bent? --- is made from 4 photos, shot with a Samyang 12, which is a wide and fast lens, it's a 2.0, but one that is also EXIF-free and strictly manual focus. The former, the lack of recorded data, I can't do much about, at least not easily, I could carry a notebook or use the Fuji's voice annotation feature, but the second weakness, the manual focus, is somewhat alleviated with Fuji's focus assist, the little snakey dots which run along edges that are in focus, focus being a set of points containing a sharp color change.
Ahh, but helpful as they are, the dots can be hard to see, especially on a sunny day and you're looking at a busy scene, like a greenhouse full of plants. The trick to using focus assist, to enhance the contrast of the in-focus areas, is to set the film sim to b&w, like Acros, which I love, then set the focus assist dots to something contrasty like bright red, the red-colored focus marks stand out well against the b&w. The only downside to this is it adds a step in post for all those times you want a film sim that isn't b&w.
While I'm doing this glueing together of photos I'm listening to k.d. lang, Pullin' Back the Reins, she has such a fine voice, she almost makes me like the sound of country. Almost. Oh and if by chance you notice some sentences running long it's because I'm reading Proust who is able to weave a luscious story into one long punctuation-rich sentence, something I cannot do, I don't really even aspire to achieve this feat, but I am awed at his ability to do so in so effortless a manner, and to inspire me to face each sentence as a mountain that must be climbed in one uninterrupted effort.
A torte is a rich, usually multilayered, cake that is filled with whipped cream, butter creams, mousses, jams, or fruits. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torte
As I raised a piece of strawberry torte to my lips, strawberry not plum despite the recipe's name* since that's the fruit on hand, I considered a friend's comment that this did not sound like a torte, so once done enjoying the rich dessert embedded with fruit I consulted the internet and Harold McGee and Mark Bittman and realized there isn't unanimity in how torte is defined and then I thought whatever it's called, it's easy and delicious and I'll just leave it at that.
There's a giant fuchsia next to the greenhouse, just outside the fence. It winters in the greenhouse but come spring it's carried by cart to a prominent position, near the front door. It's vulnerable situated here outside the deer fence, and since it's covered with flowers it should be attracting deer, but it doesn't; perhaps it's the dog who likes to bark at all things animal, even the birds flying overhead.
Speaking of fuchsias, Proust mentions the flower (a purple one, mine is more light pink) while he is in the midst of a description of the town of Chambray, a discussion that focuses on the church and the steeple of Saint-Hilaire. I like this sentence, and I include it to contrast the Moncrieff translation and the more recent Davis translation.
In vain might Mme. Loiseau deck her window-sills with fuchsias, which developed the bad habit of letting their branches trail at all times and in all directions, head downwards, and whose flowers had no more important business, when they were big enough to taste the joys of life, than to go and cool their purple, congested cheeks against the dark front of the church; to me such conduct sanctified the fuchsias not at all; between the flowers and the blackened stones towards which they leaned, if my eyes could discern no interval, my mind preserved the impression of an abyss. Swann's Way, C. K. Scott Moncrieff translation
Even though Mme Loiseau might have at her window fuchsias which developed the bad habit of forever allowing their branches to run all over with heads lowered, and whose flowers had no business more pressing, when they were large enough, than to go and cool their flushed, violet cheeks against the dark front of the church, for me the fuchsias did not for this reason become holy; between the flowers and the blackened stone against which they leaned, if my eyes perceived no interval, my mind reserved an abyss. The Way by Swann's, Lydia Davis translation