Saturday, June 14, 2014


While sisyphean is a good description for my rolling to-do list in general, yard work is the part that feels endless to me.  The darned weeds just keep on growing and all I need is a couple of weekends booked with social events, a little rain, and the whole thing careens wildly out of control.    The worst offenders are the vines.  They pop up everywhere.  And some of the folks in my area just chuck them down the gully behind our houses where they take root again and send insidious tendrils back into my yard.  I swear, they're out to get me.

So, after surveying the situation earlier in the week (house about to be submerged in tidal wave of evil green tentacles),  I selected one section of the yard to focus on last weekend.  Here's the before.
And after hours of ripping up vines, dripping sweat, raking the debris from last winter, and then mowing what was could still use some more vine suppression around the edges, but it's a lot better.

That drives back the vines closest to the house.  I've got two more areas of the yard to tackle.  And then my sawzall and I have to go after the weeds that have gotten too big to just rip out.

In the front, by happy contrast, things are humming right along.   Irises and blue flags are glorious. I put them in 12 years ago, and they have thrived under my policy of benign neglect.

The rhododendrons are blooming contentedly.

The side flower garden was in-between for a couple of  weeks- the violets and lilies of the valley gone by, nothing else really blooming.  But the first Siberian iris opened its petals on Sunday, swiftly followed by more, and the lupines are blooming.

And I had been feeling silly about trying nasturtiums again (after nothing sprouted when I planted them last year).   But this year, they have responded beautifully, and I've got seedlings throughout the bed... with any luck they'll be ready to bloom by the time the Siberian irises and lupines have gone by.   I'd feel quite smug about having flowers staged to bloom throughout the summer if it wasn't that it was a complete accident- all I was doing was trying to find something that will survive in this darned space!

Inside is a bit of a wreck what with all the focus on the outdoors, but at least Biscuit is keeping an eye on the laundry for me.  Behind the socks is his favorite place to hide.  No one sees you behind the socks!
On the knitting front, same old.  I'm on to the second Nutkin sock, I've knit more stockinette vest.  And I've cast on more mittens, because - really?  Two weeks plus and no FOs?  It's embarrassing!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lightyears Beyond Parcheesi

As I think I mentioned, we had a board games part Memorial Day weekend.  (Actually a weekend-long board-game marathon.)   When I talk to someone about our board game parties, I often get a puzzled look and the question, 'like Monopoly or Scrabble?'.   Well- I'm not one to dis Scrabble, which I love, but there are a lot of other great games out there.  Settlers of Cataan and Carcassonne (the basic version) are great games for families, and people new to board gaming.

There are a bunch of strategy games in the 90 minute plus-or-minus range, with varying degrees of complexity.  You can farm in the 1600s in Agricola, colonize Puerto Rico,  build the German postal service in Thurn and Taxis, or try to dominate the electric market in Power Grid.   But when my parents stopped by to say hello last weekend, this was what was on the table:

It's a game called Eclipse, wherein you explore strange new worlds, plant colonies and have space battles. Explore star systems, research technologies, outfit your space fleet, fight aliens (not to mention the other players) and try to dominate the galaxy.  And if you're me, knit a sock while waiting for the other players to decide on their strategy.  Kind of hard core.

The look on my parents' face was a bit non-plussed- I think there's a difference between hearing about our penchant for 'board games' and seeing for yourself the depths of your child's geekitude.

 (Thanks to our friend Bill for the game photo. If you're curious, I was soundly drubbed in this game, after our friend Vi cruelly and maliciously blew up my whole space fleet *and* my starbases, nuked my colonies and then stole my planets for her own star empire.  Not that I'm bitter. :) But I got my revenge later in a different game.)