Showing posts from October, 2014

A Much-Needed Getaway

... My birthday was Monday, and to celebrate Robb booked us a tiny vacation cottage near near Point Reyes National Seashore.  The building we stayed was once the village butcher shop, however the original facade and interior fittings are now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. (You can click here for news articles about the exhibition that the facade was used in, here .) We visited tiny rural towns, and marveled at the landscape. We had lunch on the beach.  We kayaked in a bay that was formed when the San Andreas Fault ripped the land to pieces.  We saw more predatory birds than you could imagine.  We bought locally produced cheeses.  We listened to the mournful conversations of local owls.  We read out loud to one another. Some of us knitted.  We saw elk, and deer, and a particularly well-camouflaged coyote.  It was lovely. This is entirely unrelated to gardening, but as I said, we were on vacation.  Click here to read what people who actually writ

Wedding Dresses and Ebola?

... Wedding gown creator Jill Andrews is an old pal of mine . We both worked in Baltimore theater back in the day, and often found ourselves at the thrilling and terrifying intersection of Creativity and Insanity. When it comes to clothes, Jill has seen it all. So it did not entirely surprise me when I heard that Jill was part of a team assembled by Johns Hopkins University, seeking ways to improve the functionality of medical workers' protective clothing, particularly in the context of the current ebola crisis. One of the great challenges facing medical staff working in proximity to the ebola virus is that of avoiding contaminating one's self when one removes one's protective gear.  Protective suits may work perfectly, only to fail when they are taken off.  Imagine wearing a coverall or jumpsuit in your kitchen.  Imagine putting on a face mask, rubber gloves, and shoe covers. Now imagine covering the entire outside of your clothing with peanut butter.  The p

Vegetable Bed? Sounds Perfect for a Nap!

... My poor garden.  I was swamped with work all summer, and of course we're still in the midst of a drought. I should have pulled out all my summer plants and put in their autumn replacements. But I'm running horribly behind. This weekend, Robb and ran out to Pollinate Farm and Garden , our favorite urban farm store.  We picked up a few plants (Victoria rhubarb!!!) and seeds, snuggled the shop cat, and chatted with Birgitt, one of the owners.  It's always a delight to stop in to Pollinate, those ladies know their stuff and the store is cozy and neighborly. I dug up the vegetable bed, or at least I dug up part of it.  I really need to be ruthless, and just clear the place out.  But I'm a weirdo and tend to leave out-of-place plants in place, which only leads to garden chaos later on.  Robb and I also went to the native plant sale that benefits Friends of Sausal Creek , a local organization that works to protect that watershed of one of Oakland's creeks.

Back Again, By Request.

... The blog has been quiet, because there hasn't been a whole lot of happy news to report. Sad news notwithstanding, at some point, one just has to get on with one's life.  At least, a little bit at a time.  In my case, I've resumed work on this knitting project, a re-creation of a vintage cardigan. I had asked the legions of knitters on Ravelry if they had any insight into the origins of this garment.  Experts on vintage knitwear agreed that it was almost surely a bed-jacket, a garment that has been supplanted by the ubiquitous hoodie.  Or perhaps the bed-jacket has been rendered obsolete by the use of central heating.  Our little 1925 bungalow lacks central heating, which is not as dire as it sounds.  We bundle up with wool, and are saving our pennies for an eventual upgrade.  No central heat in Northern California is not the same as no central heat in most of the rest of the country. I'm amused by the photos on this booklet of knitting pa