Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A newcomer in the pleasure grounds and some returns

Today brought us a flower from a one-dollar clematis that we've never heretofore seen bloom. The flower is not as large as some, and it's a beautiful dark red (crimson). There's nothing pink or magenta about it. There are also black-eyed Susan (rudbeckia) flowers in strange places. In shady places, we're enjoying blue spiderwort (tradescantia) and purple heart flowers.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Modern material culture: espadrilles

My old black espadrilles with optional laces have seen better days, and they're no longer available from the original source. The Soludos site came to the rescue. The price is the most reasonable found (although I do believe that it's gone up a tiny bit since they were featured in some brief magazine blurb). The rope soles are coated in rubber or a similar substance in order to prolong their useful life. The sizes are European, but there's a conversion chart. A certain European size fits me better than any American size. Soludos are for men and for women. Orders are filled promptly, if the item is in stock (various colors or designs go quickly). I like the motto seen on some soles and inside the lining: "Poca a poca se anda lejos."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Catch-up report for the pleasure grounds

Three birds seldom seen here visited last week: ovenbird, redstart, and Blackburnian warbler. The figs grow larger with each day, but are not yet ripe enough or sweet enough to attract the creatures. We've been harvesting yellow wax beans, and they're delicious. Poppies are nearly finished. Hyacinth beans, Turk's caps, and lantanas are blooming profusely. We still see a few poppies. Bachelor buttons are still going strong. Morning glories, both volunteer returns and those sown afresh, are producing more flowers each day, in many varieties. In addition to the very large and showily pentagonal flowers with blue striations, we're now seeing smaller, less pentagonal morning glories with magenta striations. Calendulas are holding on. Bright Lights cosmos, again both volunteer and deliberately cultivated, are very showy and already producing seeds. Fennel is attracting the honeybees, now that their favorite poppies have gone to seed. Serrano chiles from wintered-over plants in pots are hot, hot, hot. Returning four o'clocks are blooming, and there are many immature seedlings as well. Our plumbago is at last blooming, much later than those of all the neighbors. Delphiniums are rather stunted, but they're producing showy flowers nevertheless. The same is true for firewheels. Pride of Barbados has finally returned from the roots and at least one is far enough advanced to have flower buds on it. Sweet peas are past their peak, and the earliest to bloom already have mature seeds (the first of the seed pods split open yesterday). Milkweeds (asclepias) are happy to bloom in their pots. Miscellaneous tomatoes in pots are producing for the table. Calendulas in pots and in the ground are still in bloom. The last of the Dutch iris greenery has turned brown and was pulled for the compost pile.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Back to the big screen

The schedule has been deliberately and aggressively cleared to make room for movies. This was accomplished too late to catch Circo at the new Violet Crown, but these are the movies seen since the resolution was put into action: Jane Eyre, True Legend, The Lincoln Lawyer, Your Highness, and Jumping the Broom, all of which were more than worth the price of admission. Next up are Thor, Bridesmaids, and The Hangover Part II. Jumping the Broom had a very wonderful sequence of James Van Der Zee wedding photographs spanning many years. It was beautiful to see those images enlarged to show so much detail.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Difficult-to-find broccoli found

We always used to find Green Comet broccoli at the South Austin Farmers Market of fond memory. Those who grew it always said that it was difficult to find the seed. It's happy news to find the broccoli at the HOPE Farmers Market, courtesy of Johnson's Backyard Garden, and it's just as delicious as it ever was. We don't know where the seed came from, but have found this on-line A&M article about the problem.