Wednesday, February 24, 2010

After the snow

Things are pretty much the same as they were before the snow. Nothing new has succumbed to cold weather or to the weight of frozen precipitation. We have our first pink hyacinth. Each day, there are more narcissi and daffodils and anemones. We have noticed that the flower buds are swelling on the ornamental pear tree. We are seeing and hearing mourning doves.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New arrivals in the pleasure grounds

This morning for the first time there were several Fortissimo daffodils (medium in size, with bright cups of orange and bright petals or perianths of yellow). This is at least the second year for these. We seem to remember that they came from a bargain bin at the end of the season and that they were put into the ground quite late. At any rate, they are returnees, of however long a duration. They're in Mack's yard. The first flowers in the side yard, apart from hyacinths on the oak motte and anemone blanda in many corners, are Ice Follies.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Left out of yesterday's floral census

There are blue Dutch hyacinths in the dormant grass all over the oak motte. The variety is the deep blue with a white stripe bisecting each petal of each floret. They look beautiful under cloudy skies and beautiful when the sun strikes them. We are seeing Minnow flowers now, also.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Out there

This is a wonderful year for anemone blanda; the flowers are quite large, and they are everywhere. Some people think of these as weeds, but we think of them as beautiful miniatures. We're seeing more Ice Follies and more Carlton daffodils every day. In additino to the earlier anemones (lipstick red with a white ring in the ceter and fringed edges and blue-wiolet with very cut or fringed petals), which are St. Brigid, we're also seeing more and more Monarch de Caen anemones (the kind that florists sell; they're red, magenta, blue-violet, and also white, with poppy-like centers). Several stems of narcissi were stolen between sunset on February 14 and the morning of February 15, probably for lack of Ice Follies to take. We have plenty of Montopolis, Bastrop, Avalanche, and Grand Primo left, but we don't pick them ourselves, preferring to enjoy them outdoors in their naturalized setting; why do other people pick them? We have very beautiful, long-stemmed, and aromatic extremely doubled and all-white tazetta narcissus blooming very prolifically. I always think of Erlicheer as showing some yellow, but these are entirely white, start to finish, so I'm not sure what they are. In a sheltered and sunny spot, what was left undisturbed of the alliums there are in bloom (left undisturbed by the trespass and pit dug there, that is). There are plenty of alliums to come in the cooler and more exposed parts of the yard. English peas continue to bloom. The best rose is leafing out. Pansies and violas are back flowering in their pots, and so are the pleasantly scented cyclamens in theirs. All types of herbs in pots are holding their own. We've seen one (unidentified) warbler and one mourning dove.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Not this year

There will be no Ice Follies daffodils to steal for Valentine's offerings. There were none last night and there will be none tonight. It appears that a select few will open late tomorrow. Every spring is different, but this one has not presented us with many flowers yet. We're enjoying red fringed anemones with a white ring toward the center, blue-violet or violet-blue very fringed anemones, white flowers on the pea vines, and many tazetta narcissi of various kinds, enough to perfume the air with their scent, which is much more pleasant that that of the various paperwhites.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More modern-day cultural illiteracy

It took someone to write these (or perhaps dictate them) and at least one other person to overlook them when copy-editing: "half-inch" knot learned by the Boy Scouts ("half-hitch" knot, anyone?) and "Zina Loa" for the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Modern-day cultural illiteracy

In keeping with my intention to read books new to me instead of returning to favorites of the past, I've been making good use of the library, having just finished reading a novel that has received fine reviews, A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore. It's intelligent and has a narrative that is quite a page-turner, but I find it sad that even Knopf doesn't do a good job of copy-editing. It's not that I was taking notes, but here are oddities that I can recall off the top of my head: "alium" for "allium," "bannick" for "Brannock" foot-measuring device, "Stengel" sugar bowl for "Stangl," and no evidence of knowledge that the principal tenses of a certain verb are "smite, smote, and smitten." Even comic books get that last one right. "Stangl" is prounced as though it were "Stengel," it's true. This is the somewhat clunky pottery of red clay with clear glaze allowing that color to show on the backs of the pieces, and very free-hand decoration complete with sgraffito embellishments permitting the red clay to show through in places on the front of pieces. This was available in hardware stores and was very eaily broken or chipped, so I'd guess that not much survives in fine condition.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Modern material culture: work clothes

I found some hand-me-downs. I think they were from the old Army-Navy store on Congress downtown. One is a chino twill tan workshirt, cotton and polyester, made in the U.S.A., brand HIT EM HARD. I find nothing on line about this registered brand. The other is a poplin tan workshirt, all cotton, made in the U.S.A., brand Creighton, green lettering on label. I still find a maker of uniforms called Creighton. It may operate the way Finesilver in San Antonio used to, making military uniforms mostly, but workclothes as well. We used to buy Finesilver tan chino trousers at Gellman's on East Sixth. Sweet, Orr was the brand of choice for workclothes when I was a kid. They had to be starched crisply and ironed with creases.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Word of the day: planish

"Planish" came floating up into the counscious mind. I'm always trying to think of possible one-word domain names, but I'm beginning to believe that they've all been taken. Certainly, this one has been. How did this word first come into my vocabulary? I'm speculating that it was via Johnny Tremaine (by Esther Forbes). The copy that I read was on somebody else's shelves, and it still had its dust jacket. I see that there are study guides for this book and that it's taught in some classrooms. That'll remove any enjoyment a reader might derive from this story! But, wait! When I go to Google books and search, there's no use of "planish" to be found. So the acquisition of this word remains a mystery.

Monday, February 01, 2010

New finds in the yarden

There are more and more hyacinth leaves appearing, and visible in the center of the first-appearing rings of leaves are flower stalks. These are not so full as they are some years, but they're not going to be scanty, either. We continue to see more and more flowers on the English peas, and more and more Grand Primo and Montopolis narcissi shooting up flower stalks and delighting us with clusters of open blooms. They will last a long time on these cooler days and they look at their very best under these cloudy skies.