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Dandylions...Ptl-ptl-ptl

With all due respect to horses and turtles for whom they are just the most wonderful de-LI-ca-cy…surely there’s SOMETHING less objectionable in the ecosystem that can replace them!

I just hauled CJC out on a walk to try and sort out a transition problem in the book. Sometimes just talking about it helps you sort it out or a random comment/reaction aims you at the key. That was the case with this one. Waltzed up to the house…and there was yellow everywhere. I swear to gawd that yellow wasn’t there when we headed out. And in the time it took me too pull those, others were out! ARGH! I’m determined to stay ahead of them this year. I can’t do anything about what comes in on the air, other than keep the Preen going, but at least I can avoid a plague.

Grrrrrr…..

36 comments to Dandylions…Ptl-ptl-ptl

  • I have a fine crop of generic weeds, clover, and other such, waiting for a yard service. I finally got someone who (1) comes with a good recommendation and (2) actually called back and will meet with me. Oh wow, you wouldn’t believe how common lack of response has been from contractors / handymen of various kinds. This afternoon, I’m supposed to get a meeting and an estimate, and I hope it’ll get done this week or next.

    There’s progress on various things for needed improvements for the yard and home. A meeting with someone for the civic club went very well, and so there’s a resolution of misunderstandings / misinformation, with now some cooperation, to give me time to work things out in good faith and with progress. So this takes care of another step. Now if I can get a contractor / handyman who’ll take care of two small problems for the exterior, to resolve them, I’ll be in much better shape. It’ll be a start, at least.

    —–

    When you get a new hammer, everything looks like a nail. (For international readers, that’s an English-language proverb that probably long predates the US/UK divide.)

    So I’ve run into two interesting things and people from the Netherlands.

    Jim C. Hines’ blog, which Hanneke recommended (thank you!) had a review of a book, Otherbound, by Corrine Duyvis. Ms. Duyvis is a Dutch author and Jim Hines says there’s background from Dutch history in the historic / fantasy elements. The book involves a boy who has s neurological condition who connects with a girl from the past or an alternate reality. Both he and she are very surprised and not altogether happy about it, and the boy’s family and friends, along with him, do not understand what’s going on, nor does the girl. The review sounded good. The book’s available only in hardcover; no ebook or paperback as yet. It sounds good, and I’ll likely get it later on.

    Then there’s a new font family, Proza, which is similar to Optima and a few others, a sans-serif with calligraphic and humanist elements and a thick-thin structure. It looks very good in samples. It’s available for desktop use, but not yet for webfonts or other digital applications. I hope the designer will do so in the future. This is the first offering by the firm, begun in 2013. Bureau Roffa is the design firm. Jasper de Waard is the designer. The family is half off until the start of May, which makes it as affordable as fonts go. The info says that Roffa is Dutch slang for Rotterdam, where the design firm is located. This is unusual and handsome, and looks very useful. It will be nice to see what his firm offers in the future.

    Related, I’m working on my first couple of font designs. I have most of the basic characters in, but need to finish the others, and there is the kerning process to complete, as well as to fine-tune things before submitting the designs for review.

    It’s still about three to four months, give or take a couple of weeks, before I expect to have those available for the public through MyFonts.com and/or other vendors, and roughly that same time before I would see income from it. The process is, the designer submits a font or family for review by the vendor, for quality and salability. That takes 4 to 6 weeks. If accepted, the designer gets one or two payments. Then the fonts are put up for sale to the public by the vendor. Then there’s another 4 to 6 weeks before the designer sees revenue from sales / royalties, if it is above a minimum disbursement per month. So in all, two to three months before the designer sees what the public thinks of it. Then it’s up to what the font buying public (mostly designers and graphics people) think of the fonts: their usefulness for a project, their looks, and current tastes and fashions in fonts, among graphic artsists, designers, advertisers, and so on. In other words, it can be a huge hit, or it can sit there and not do much, or it can be somewhere in between. Or it might become trendy when tastes change again. There are lots of choices out there now, and quality varies. But the basic idea is to give words a visual personality to go with the message being given, whatever the purpose, from a novel to a bag of chips to a major ad campaign.

    —–

    Well, the yard guy can call any time now to come by. Meanwhile, back to the grindstone….

    “All your kerning pairs are belong to us!”

  • kokipy

    You should harvest them! make dandelion wine in memory of the late great Mr. Bradbury, eat the roots, have dandelion greens in your salad 🙂 with all that yellow, there must be a pony somewhere 🙂

    • My problem with that is…I forget to pluck them before they go to seed! I’d make a lousy farmer…. Fortunately other than weeds, tending the garden can be done as a round tuit (unlike lawn that has to be mown regularly.

      • chondrite

        Get yourself a dandelion sticker, which is a long handled prong. Stab it into the ground by the dandelion and you can either sever the root below ground level, or push and twist to pry it loose, all without bending over and stressing your back.

        • kokipy

          and then you’ve got the root ready to harvest 🙂
          i got a book a few years back on foraging. it was cool. the guy who wrote it virtually never buys food. he forages. he made a birthday cake with what he had foraged, and hunted – bear fat was the grease, and his doubtful grandma was converted .
          i don’t do much any more but i have found that there is one apparent incorrigible weed whose name i can’t recall that is actually very tasty and the farmer’s market people actually sell it as a delicacy. when i saw that i went right home and harvested my own and served it up for dinner. the children didn’t like it- they don’t like anything at all as sk8r can attest – but the spouse and i did. when i remember what it is called i’ll share. my guess is you have it too. it likes bare sunny soil. it is full of excellent vitamins and minerals, and not a carb in sight.

          • Hanneke

            There was a BBC mini-series about the Victorian kitchen garden, that I found fascinating. Not just for the old techniques, so very labour-intensive, but also for the variety of old-fashioned vegetables that are almost forgotten, because they aren’t easily commercialized and grown in large quanities to be harvested mechanically; and sometimes because preparing them is a bother. I don’t remember all the names, but there was this little sort of weed that had thickish wiggly roots (a chore to peel) that was a sort of fall-back staple for winter or early spring against the more popular potatoes running out, and things like salsify and sassafras.
            It surprised me, thinking that modern-day vegetable choice has been enriched by produce from all over the world (the Netherlands generally scores fairly high on food diversity and availability at low prices, being good at commercial market gardening), that we’ve forgotten so many things that were local staples or alternatives that were used for centuries, in such a short time.
            And I remember being surprised by the kind of things we’d discard that the French lady where my mother was au-pair used in her cooking, like making a tasty soup from radish greens and a few potatoes (smoothed with a blender), or using dandelion, tiny daisybuds (the kind which grows in lawns) and sorrel in a salad. She was a good cook!

            Another money-saving garden tip: comfreyleaves and/or stinging nettles put in bucket of water for a few weeks to make a very stinky but very nutritious liquid fertiliser, none of that shop-bought stuff necessary. It certainly stank as badly as liquid manure, so a lid or something over the top of the bucket is important, as well as choosing a breezy time to feed your plants, so the smell can get carried away! I only tried it once, and as a feed it worked, but the smell was enough to prefer buying the dried solid stuff.

            • Hanneke

              I tried to check if it’s available on Netflix, but as I’m not a subscriber I can’t see if it’s there. There were two mini-series, six episodes each IIRC, one for the Victorian kitchen and one for the Victorian kitchen garden. The BBC found these two old people, one a cook (Ruth Mott) who had worked in one of the last remaining Victorian kitchens for real, early in her career, and one the retired (head) gardener Harry Dodson who had worked at the English estate they partially restored for the series – he started out there as a boy of fourteen or so, and was well in his eighties when they filmed him returning the kitchen garden to some of its former glory.
              Reading about the atevi formal meals made me think of the work that went into preparing those kinds of meals in an era before kitchens were overrun with electrical appliances, and though Bindanda in the Bu-javid probably does have electric mixers and blenders, those might not be considered kabiu in all households. I rather think Malguri and Tirnamardi kitchens may still run rather like those Victorian kitchens and estates did. If they are on Netflix or something so you can see them in the USA, you might like them.

              I just checked my DVDs: the series were from 2006, BBC, presented by Peter Thoday. There was a third series about The Victorian Flower Garden as well, a bit less interesting I found, not just about growing the flowers for the entertainments, but also showing the decorations made by Harry Dodson for a Victorian wedding and a grand musicale – it so reminds me of the atevi floral decorations compensating for the numbers at any domestic or important occasion!
              I think I’ll rewatch them while I’m ironing, that should get me started. I’m turning off the internet for the rest of the weekend, to stop myself wasting all this time online and get some stuff done. I really need to limit my access, though I like hanging out with the people here, because I tend to keep surfing instead of doing necessary stuff. Have a nice weekend!

          • A while back, I saw an old episode of Alton Brown’s “Good Eats!” that featured some old traditional vegetables, including at least one European traditional root vegetable, also used in America, but mostly forgotten in the 20th and 21st centuries.

            I think two of these were parsnips and rutabagas. — I haven’t found either one in my grocery store to try them.

            I need to rewatch the episode to review what it said. But at least one of these was packed with nutrition, and he was advocating using it much more.

            There were also folkways about old wild plants that were either edible or used for dyes or medicines.

            Poke salad, for instance, is sometimes still used. Sassafras, which is still used for tea and for other flavorings. There were others. These were used by poor people and country people, and probably still are.

            The thing is, with populations going up and the need for more foodstuffs, and with some people advocating for a “greener” and more sustainable life, or more communal sharing to support communities of people, with the economy still shaky most places — well, if something’s good to eat or has other useful properties, why not explore and use those? We use other plants that are not so easy to grow and harvest en masse. So why not try these old, tested things too? Discover why our ancestors 50 or a hundred or two hundred years ago, in whichever countries, used them so often.

            Meanwhile, I’m very glad my local grocery store has a lot of international foods, fresh or packaged.

            • chondrite

              Parsnips look like bleached-out carrots, but sweeter, and rutabagas are white turnips on steroids, also known as swedes. I have a stew recipe from a friend in Great Britain that calls for swedes.

          • There’s a taproot weed we have around here that SHOULD be edible! It’s certainly annoying and big enough! 😀

            • chondrite

              Here’s a blast from the past: go to your local library and search out either the Firefox books (real true Appalachian living), or Euell Gibbons’ series Stalking the Wild (fill in the blank). Both series cover a great deal of wild foods, before they were popularized by urban foragers.

  • The lawn service owner…will make more than twice what I’d expected to pay for the initial service. Holy cow! … But he’s the only one who’s actually returned calls. It has to get done, for my own peace of mind and to satisfy the civic club.

    However, the fees thereafter are less than half what I was paying either of two companies / people before, so in the long run, it evens out.

    But… yikes. (I’ve more than paid the cost of a high-end weed eater with that initial outlay.) … I could wish for a goat, if they wouldn’t eat everything else too!

    Sigh. Well, when ya gotta, ya gotta, I guess.

    —–

    I don’t envy you both the take-down of the fence, but I do envy you getting a good new fence. That’s wonderful.

    I need replacement of the fence along one neighbor’s side, and all three gates. But other things are higher priority and I can’t afford the fence expense for a long while. So it stays. It looks awful. I want it fixed. Sigh. I will have to be patient, and I’ll use it for motivation towards font design and other things to improve my income.

    (BTW, I *will* get the short story / stories CJ talked about, when she gets it / them done. — I never want to be so broke that I can’t afford a book or drawing / writing supplies. There’s wiggle room into my monthly budget for such, because I know if I don’t, I’d do it anyway.)

    • Hanneke

      Could you grow something like Clematis up and along the ragged fences? It doesn’t try to take over the world, like Ivy does, it can grow very quickly, and gives pretty flowers as well as greenery all summer (depending on which variety you choose). In winter it goes to rather messy-looking bare and brittle stalks, that you can prune back severely if you want (again, depending on the variety).
      In summer it looks fine, and if in winter it’s messy because it’s preparing for next summer’s show, that might be acceptable to your local association.
      It does need some support, but even a rickety fence will do. It doesn’t have to be very tall, though Clematis can grow 2-3 meters: generally they will also use that growth sideways, if they can’t go further upwards.
      My regular wednesday walk takes me past one of the few local old farmhouses left, and they have a long, waist-high, rickety front fence completely covered in Clematis, just starting to go green again: in summer it’s gorgeous.
      If you know the fence won’t be replaced for a few years, beautifying it with greenery might be worthwhile, though maybe something else would do better in the Texan heat; and in spring, young shoots and seedlings of something that grows quick and easy should be quite cheap.

  • Well, the fence that needs replacement isn’t visible from the street. Instead, it adjoins one of my neighbors. That neighbor took the stance that the fence was not shared, and thus, she wouldn’t go in with me on the cost. (She has her own fence, she’s right.) The other neighbor was a tremendous help, because the fence along their property was shared, so we went half and half. Guess which side has a fence in good repair? But the fence along the one neighbor’s side truly has to be replaced, if only I could do it now.

    There are three gates, two full-height and one half-height. The half-height gate is OK, but showing its age. The two full-height gates need replacement.

    I had thought I might get one of the full-height gates and its supports replaced with this round of work, but given the prices I’m finding, it will likely have to wait. If I can, though, I’ll do it.

    So I’m not concerned about plants, which wouldn’t really help disguise the problem, unfortunately. However, it’s a thought for future landscaping.

    My front yard is going to need re-sodding when I can afford it, to re-establish the grass. The two trees provide so much shade, and their roots and the height of the lawn is such that my prior attempts to put out grass seed haven’t succeeded. The other alternative for the front is some other treatment, native plants or “xeriscaping” or a zen-like rock garden, perhaps. Surprisingly enough, those could meet the deed restriction criteria, but of course, the civic club would require me to submit a form and approve any plan. That suits me too; it was good to find out it was a possibility.

    There are plants in the flower beds, hedges along the side and azaleas and others along the front, which are doing OK, they just need to be neatened up. The back flower bed still has one rose bush and two hardy, naturalized plants (bushes), but now has a small bare section ready for me to try something this summer. There had been another rose bush and a decorative trellised climber that were lost to two cold snaps (into the 20’s) the winter before last.

    I do have a spot or two out front to try something new, but I’m not focused on that yet. It might be red or pink azaleas, since the existing azaleas are white.

    The faux window treatment — This morning I woke and realized I hadn’t seen clearly what it looks like, when I took photos yesterday. (A normally sighted person would’ve been able to see from where I took the photos.) So when I get them on my computer and enlarge them to full size, I may find it’s in better shape than I remember. If the civic club accepts that, good; but it may still need new work after all.

    I sketched a little, but wasn’t thrilled with what I came up with. It might work to brick over the small section, which would avoid any future issues.

    No calls back, so far today. I’m using the time to rest a little and get things done: font work, etc.

    • Hanneke

      Would your association allow you to use other groundcover, instead of grass? Grass really needs sun, so if you re-sod the area but the shade remains the same, there’s a fair likelyhood the new grass won’t do any better. If the grass hates to grow in the shaded area, there are several other low-growing plants that stay green in winter and will do well in dry shade, like Pachysandra terminalis, or Vinca (major or minor). Epimedium perralchicum Frohnleiten can cover ground quickly (I’ve read but not grown myself); maybe Geranium macrorrhizum (not quite evergreen in a hard winter, but recovers very quickly) -there are so many types of Geranium, and not all of them are wintergreen.

      In somewhat less dry shade my favourite is Pulmonaria, or Gallium Odoratum (does better with a bit of light, but doesn’t need as much sun as grass). Asarum, Bergenia, Campanula, Carex -for moist shade there is a wider range of choice.

      All of those are in the 10-30 cm range and stay green in winter, though not all of them are hardy enough to walk on.

      You do have to check them out before you chose, as some are too invasive, like Lysimachia Nummularia (which isn’t wintergreen anyway), or Lily of the valley (Convallaria Majalis) which is a thug, it’s poisonous and dives below ground in winter, its leaves aren’t much to look at in summer and its rhizomes will take over a shady garden if you let it, but it does smell heavenly while it blooms. In the end, I dug mine all up as I found the smell wasn’t enough to compensate for all the drawbacks.

      If there is an open-gardens scheme, or some enthousiastic gardener in your neighborhood (maybe your association contact knows someone?) they should know more about what thrives in your area, and may be willing to start you off with some seedlings or offshoots of something from their own gardens. In my experience, many gardeners love to share tips, as well as sharing out all those bits from the thriving plants they keep having to divide.

      Is your neigborhood the kind where you can go for walks around the block, and look at people’s gardens, to see who has one that you like, or that looks especially nice? If they’re outdoors it’s relatively easy to start a chat asking about some nice plants or landscaping in their garden, but mom has occasionally had a stranger ringing her doorbell to ask about something in her garden, and she never minds that – maybe not all gardeners are like that, but if the neighborhood is friendly it might work.

    • chondrite

      I second Hanneke’s suggetion of either pachysandra or vinca; both do well in dry shady areas, and are low-maintenance once established, which I think is a concern. It depends how much rain you get, as far as which plants will thrive without extra watering. We have a creeping low plant, daisy-like, with yellow flowers that makes a good ground cover, but I don’t know if it will like your winters. All the gardens will take sweat equity, although some will be fiscally easier to do; again, tap your neighbors with nice landscaping for ideas. At least one of them has to be going the ‘least amount of effort’ route!

  • I was surprised that there’s evidently more chance for other types of ground cover and gardens than the typical grass, as long as it meets the association’s approval, which it probably would.

    — I’m in Houston, so we have high humidity always, hot summers and mostly mild winters. Snow is a rarity, only once every five years or more, do we get enough to form more than a frost. We typically get a good amount of rainfall, though we can go for weeks without rain on rare occasions. Houston is about two hours’ drive from the Gulf Coast and Galveston.

    This neighborhood is, overall, older residential. The homes date from the mid-1950’s and mid-1960’s, with many of the original homeowners still here, but many beginning to sell to second owners like me. One benefit is there are large trees, planted by the original owners, so we have squirrels (good or bad) and birds and occasionally other city-adapted wildlife. It’s a typical subdivision for that period, very middle class, mostly white but not exclusively. The demographics for the surrounding area are slightly older, but most other criteria vary in almost every particular. It’s ethnically very mixed through the area, though that tends to “clump” … typical of America. (It looks like that tendency is less so among younger people, thankfully.) There are just enough new families moving in that there are a few homes now with children or teens, either kids or grandkids. That would be better if the trend continues.

    The neighborhood is mostly quiet, and from what I’ve seen, friendly enough, but it’s the big city, so there’s also the tendency to keep to oneself. — But yest, there should be plenty of chances to walk around and see who has nice lawns, flower beds, and gardens, and ask for suggestions or cuttings. (Hah, and I’m very new to gardening, I’d need lots of tips.) My grandmother could make anything grow. My parents were pretty good at it. I wish I’d developed the interest sooner. At least I found out I could, and enjoy it some.

    There are only two yards I can think of with atypical gardens in the front yards, but those are nice. Others have grass and flower beds or other garden beds. So there should be good options.

    LOL, last year’s great tomato gardening adventure resulted in very fine, large tomato plants…but no tomatoes that lasted to maturity. Birds or squirrels, I think, got to the very few that set fruit. But that was only two of the…was it 6?…plants. I’m not trying for that this year, but maybe next.

    Once the yard’s cleaned up, I’ll have some pictures of the current state of affairs. 🙂

    As an indication of how distracted I’ve been, I went out this morning, to find the rose bush in back has many nice blooms, and by the look of them, they’ve been there a few days. Some have a few more days before they shatter and drop their petals. There are a few buds too. Unfortunately, the Granada rose I’d transplanted didn’t make it, but the original owner’s rose, that I just wrote about, did. (I didn’t find any other Granada roses locally last year, and I want one.)

    Houston’s native climate will take things from palm trees to aloe vera and century plants, oaks and pines, pecan trees, other fruit trees, and a variety of plants for temperate or subtropical. Azaleas are common for this area for landscaping. Except for my front yard, where there’s extra shade from the trees, there’s a *lot* of sun and a moderate amount of rain, though in summer, we water because of so much evaporation from high temps.

    • chondrite

      Sounds like your climate is Mediterranean, so think hot Greek summers: creeping thyme, oregano and rosemary. The creeping yellow daisy is in fact called “creeping yellow daisy”, or Wedelia. Look at ice plants or hearts-and-flowers as a succulent cover; as a bonus they have hot pink fluffy flowers.

      • Hanneke

        Hearts and flowers I don’t know, but the others you mention all thrived on the exposed sunny slopes of my grandpa’s garden in south Spain, especially the ice plants with those colourful daisy-like flowers, so those would all do well in a sunny spot in a Mediterranean climate. Under a large shady tree might not be sunny enough for them to do well.

        Also, even if the climate is moist, remember that under a large tree the ground will mostly be dry because the tree roots suck up all the moisture from the ground. Unless you’re in one of the rare temperate rainforest zones, like on the west side of the mountains in Washington state, which I don’t remember Texas having (or are these more common in subtropical areas, not just the real tropics?). If the trees all tend to be festooned with Spanish moss, you can grow things under them that need more moisture, and needn’t limit yourself to the drought-resistant kinds.

  • chondrite

    We managed to salvage a few cuttings from an old rosebush on my grandparents’ farm. It was one of those old cabbage roses, pink and multiruffled with the best scent ever. My mother managed to get one to take in the garden at home, which was lucky; the new owner tore down the old farmhouse and graded the property, which completely destroyed the bush 🙁

  • Our climate is probably close to Mediterranean. It matches any of the Gulf Coast states along the coast.

    Well, heck. — I missed the owner of the lawn service, if he even came by, rather than his workers.

    When he and I talked yesterday, he’d said his crew would probably be by Monday or Tuesday, that he hadn’t made out his schedule for next week yet. He said he’d phone before they came by.

    So, yikes, I was very surprised when I hear a noise from my roof and then a yard crew working outside my house. OK, that’s good, great. Lots of work all around for about half an hour, a slight lull to regroup, I think, and then about another 30 minutes, and then…silence. And no ring or knock on the door. The yard has been done, and now, I’ll need to call the owner to come by tomorrow or during the week, because I might as well give him the check. I would have tonight, but the process fooled me. He had (of course) said I didn’t have to be there, he did billing. OK, but I would’ve liked to meet him. (He did a drive-by for the price quote yesterday, instead of meeting me.) So…well, the yard’s done, but I didn’t meet him or his crew foreman. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, as it means my money sits in my account another day or two, but, well, I would like to meet him or his foreman. So, I’ll need to work out with him how he prefers to handle billing and payment. But yay, it’s done.

  • appropos of nothing particular: I’m finding all the above fascinating! I’m having a terrible time keeping my azaleas under our big tree wet enough, even in the spring. Though it was rain shadow. Guess I’ll have to try setting a separate sprinkler to deep water frequently, since the plants need the shade….

  • kokipy

    what about a soaker hose on a timer so that you can water independently of other concerns? i love soaker hoses, and i was able to figure out the timer myself, which was quite an accomplishment, but you would do it in a heartbeat. i lack your technological expertise.

  • chondrite

    One of our bib taps is leaky, so I made lemonade out of lemons. I ran an old hose from the leaky tap to a cup-and-saucer bush I was trying to set in a gap in our hedge. Voila! Instant soaker hose! I estimate it loses about 5 gallons a week, but slowly, so the bush can soak up the water as it dribbles. It’s been a year or more now, so I think it’s time to wean the bush off the supply.
    My avocado tree can’t decide if it wants to grow or not. It set a dozen little avocados, then dropped them all and the top half died back. Maybe I’ll reroute that hose to water the avocado for a week, then alternate with the cup and saucer bush for a while. We’re getting into the dry season, so I only anticipate a couple more good soaking rains before we dry up for the summer. I’ve had tarps over the 10′ x 10′ patch of front lawn where I want to start the creeping thyme for 6 months now; the grass should be moribund by now and ready to be mulched.

  • Early this morning, before dawn, I woke up and thought I’d write some on a story idea. I had in mind what to write.

    Hours later (many!) it dawns on me I’m tired and need a break.

    What had poured out was not at all what I’d had in mind to write, but hey, it might be good. I reached a stopping point for now, and will get back to it, but I’d still like to write what I had set out to write to start with, today.

    Meanwhile, what actually got written, about 12 pages’ worth, hmm, I don’t know quite what I have there. Except it intersects somehow with world-building for the science fiction side of things, remotely. And otherwise, it’s a more Earth-based, grungy city life story. — I don’t get why, but for some reason, street kids (homeless, hustlers, risky behavior but with a heart of gold?) have recurred in this story and drafts of another. … As if I have any real-life familiarity with that, or as if my own background and morals would.

    Or maybe that’s it. I have otherwise had trouble getting myself to write outside my “comfort zone” of behavior or morals, except for obvious villain characters. And so far, those villains have seemed shallow, lacked depth. But the good guys, although there’s some grey area and some more character depth, haven’t had many very mixed traits, personal or moral too far outside, well, me; or at least a fairly idealized American view.

    I did have one “aha!” moment with something else where I wondered, “What if, instead of these guys being the bad guys, they are the anti-heroes, the protagonists are not such great guys?” Aarrrr, mateys. That might show up, I haven’t tried to write that yet, but I think I’m onto something, there.

    So maybe what I’m seeing here, with these streetwise characters is an attempt to break out of that comfort zone and write very different characters and situations.

    But, um, I have very rarely… Nearly all attempts to write a love scene have resulted in much angst and talking between the characters before anything ever happens, and then, it’s likely only suggested. … This could reflect what’s going on in my own psyche a little more than I want. (It’d be great if that would unknot itself, by the way.) … Though there’s been enough to satisfy myself that I can write some descriptions beyond PG rating. … I’m just shy of them getting out of the story folder.

    Well, anyway, so maybe what’s going on in beginner storyville is showing some progress.

    Either that or my brain’s going past the “sour milk” stage?

    Something’s happening, anyway.

    (I’m about to try writing what I’d set out to write when I woke up this morning.)

    (Somewhere, a room full of plot bunnies and Shakespearean code monkeys are laughing, laughing I tell you.)

  • ready4more

    For a great example of great writing with anti-hero protagonists see if you can get your hands on episodes of the tv show “Orphan Black” (originally telecast on BBC America or Space network). Next Saturday starts the 2nd season, so 1st season should be available on Netflix, et al. Sometimes seeing it well done is its’ own reward. Everyone is flawed but very human, and there are more twists than in a double helix. I admit to being a member of the clone club…

  • Huh, I had no idea what Orphan Black was about, and thought it was (a perhaps unrelated) horror genre story.

    So I’ll give old eps a try and see what I like.

    I’m about to see what I come up with, with one or the other of the three ideas I’d mentioned.

    Side Note: I started watching “The 100,” and although the pilot’s shaky, there’s potential. Further episodes (3 so far) are getting better. There are two main plots or sets of characters: One on a failing space station with much political wrangling (adults behaving badly); and the other, the 100 juvenile offenders (for anything from political trumped-up crimes to misdemeanors and felonies) who have been dropped down to a post-nuked Earth to see if it’s habitable enough to risk returning. The teens are not always the brightest, but things are shaking out, and it’s improving some. The adults on station are, most of them, not your finest examples of human kindness. The show is based on a book from last year, also called The 100, from a first-time writer. Note, the third episode has a big shock from an unexpected source. I thought the inclusion of this was a bold, if chancy, dramatic step, and I’m not sure how they’re going to play that out long-term.

    Meanwhile, Falling Skies and Defiance return in late June. (I like Falling Skies a lot, so-so about Defiance.) — And…there’s a slight bit of news that there is / may be a new Farscape movie in the works, recently started, with a script done by one of the original series writers. This connects with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and Brian Henson’s company, who were the producers and creature effects people for Farscape. More news forthcoming, I think. Also, it seems there’s a Firefly Online game in development and new comics from Dark Horse.

    (I *might* get to go to ApolloCon this summer here in town, but I don’t expect my budget can handle ShejiCon IV, much as I’d love to see everyone in person. Next year, maybe!)

  • WOL

    A lady in England whose blog I follow and her husband are living on a ridiculously small amount of money in order to pay down their mortgage faster (Just relocated to a new-to-them house they’ve been fixing up and they are both nearing retirement age). Last year, they took out their front lawn and replaced it with a garden (better use of the land). They’ve gone meatless,don’t eat eggs or dairy. She shows stuff she cooks and how she makes it and it looks delicious. They just sold their car and use public transportation or “shanks mare.”

    The thing that scares me about our largely monoculture type food production and the narrow range of fruits, veggies and grains that are available in supermarkets is how easily a disease or fungus could have a serious impact on our food supply.

    • Hanneke

      I agree with you on the dangers of large-scale monocultures. I saw a documentary once about chickens, which looked at the genetic variations available in all the kinds of agriculturally kept chickens all over the world, and then noted that almost all chickens kept in modern large-scale agriculture contained less than 3% of the available and usefull genetic variability. So if a virus breaks out that this type of chicken is susceptible to, they would all be wiped out if it couldn’t be contained. The traditional subsistence farmers or hobbyists with their diverse breeds and variations would have a fair chance of some birds being resistant, but that doesn’t really help with food security. And the same goes for wheat, rice, maize, and a lot of other crops, while bananas are even more vulnerable, with all bananas of a certain kind being clones of one original parent tree, IIRC.

      My three small hens (Hollandse krieltjes) have a run of three square meters altogether, and need about three dollars worth of food for two months for the three of them. They lay half-size eggs, about every other day, from March into September. That’s nine small (or four-and-half large) eggs per week, for a dollar and a half per month, and a 3 by 1 meter bit of garden. Okay, as I don’t provide artificial heat and light in winter (except for keeping their water defrosted), they don’t lay eggs from October to March, but still it seems like a good choice to me for people who don’t have much to spend on groceries but need some protein in their diets. Maybe a 3 x1 strip of garden can raise enough beans to give as much protein as all those eggs, I don’t know, and a 6 – 12 months old bantam hen costs about 5 dollars to start with (she will keep laying for about six years), still, if you choose a small and well-laying breed, it seems a worthwhile investment for people in their situation. Mine certainly make me feel more independent, besides being sure my eggs are healthy as well as more tasty than the usual shop-bought large eggs.
      I even read an article online about preserving fresh eggs for many months, by rubbing the shells with waterglass or olive oil, I think, so this frugal couple you mention could even save half their eggs for the winter half of the year, if they wanted.
      Not that there’s anything wrong with going Vegan, I’m just noting that there can be very cheap and independent ways of getting some eggs as well. A lot of towns don’t allow people to keep cockerels within town, but little hens (who make less noise than parrots or parakeets) are often not forbidden.

  • WOL

    Unfortunately, where I’m moving, I won’t have a yard to keep any birds in or make a garden in.

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