Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sweet box

Here we are at the mid-week. Today is supposed to be the first of our two exceptionally warm days. 76 is the predicted high here in Lynden, 25 for you metric types. I'll be in my office with a fan on. My co-workers often feel cold, whether because of cold weather or the air conditioning in hot weather. They even will run little space heaters at their work stations. Meanwhile, I tend to feel too warm at work, so I have a fan to run.

Yesterday I planted some baby bushes called sarcococca ruscifolia, also known as "sweet box." I planted them near the property line between my neighbors and me. One mature bush of this variety is already there, and I added the others to make a line of them. The new ones are quite small. There used to be a fence right there, but over the years it deteriorated, and a while back the current residents and I pulled it down. But it's a place that calls for some kind of partition, so I got these.

They are nice bushes with shiny dark green leaves that don't fall off in the winter, and they get tiny white flowers that smell very sweet. When I first moved up here from California, I thought the bushes were a variety of jasmine.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring lullaby

We're expecting some days of very warm weather, culminating on Wednesday with a high of 78! That's almost too warm. Anyway, since it's spring and I'm sleepy I found this "Lullaby of Spring," by Donovan. Boring visual but pretty song.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hi Noe!

Yesterday I went to my favorite plant nursery, Hi Hoe. I took a friend with me to show her how great it was. Well, there weren't as many plants there as I expected, and the secret garden was unmowed with most of the plants dug up. Guess what? The owners are selling off what they have in stock and after the end of May they're closing down and moving to another town.

Last year, another good nursery, Bakerview Nursery in Bellingham, also closed down due to the owners retiring.

On the up side, Vander Giessen Nursery right in Lynden is expanding.

Friday, April 25, 2014

And so it begins

Yesterday I made my first flower purchases of this spring. After work, I went to the Garden Spot Nursery and bought black petunias, white bacopa, and creeping jenny, which may bear yellow flowers in the future.

The petunias and bacopa are for the same barrel as my honeysuckle. I have planted many colors of petunias in there in years past, generally tending to opt for purple. I was planning on buying purple again when I saw this black variety. Last year I had a small pot of black petunias, and they are gorgeous. A change this year for this barrel is that I am adding white bacopa to mix in with the black petunias. They should look very pretty cascading out of the barrel together. Right now, of course, they are tiny starter plants.

The creeping jenny is for around the edges of the two barrels by my water feature. I always put in double impatiens in the center and creeping jenny around the edge, again with the idea that it will trail over the edge of the barrel. Some years it does. Some years I have only been able to find "golden" creeping jenny, with yellowish leaves, but yesterday I found the basic plant, with dark green leaves.

I did not find any double impatiens, so I will have to keep looking for that. In recent years I've had a hard time finding that, but each year I finally have found it somewhere. Impatiens is a flat, five-petal flower, but double impatiens is fuller, with petals more like a mini-carnation.

I did make one earlier plant purchase last weekend, but not flowers for my deck. It was some starters for a shrub called fragrant sarcococca, or sweetbox. That is for a hedge along a certain edge of the property.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Morning routine

My favorable jet lag is wearing off. Today I woke up nice and early, but not easily. I could tell by how dark the windows were that was overcast outside and now I can hear it raining hard. I'm not excited for the dog's walk in a little while. I hope it lets up.

I have been sitting here with my light thing that's supposed to help my sleep patterns. I have it working on a timer, and when it automatically shut off, I thought for a moment that I was losing power. Thankfully, no.

I'm having a cup of coffee. Oh, the bliss of that first warm sip. When I'm done with it, I will get dressed and walk the dog, no matter what the weather. When we get home, I'll change into my work clothes, then fix myself some breakfast -- probably toast with peanut butter and another cup of coffee. I will read from my Kindle while I eat.

I've found a method that helps me get out the door on time to go to work. I get fully dressed, shoes and all, before eating breakfast, and also put necessary items (cell phone, lunch) in my pockets and purse before eating breakfast. That way when I suddenly realize that it's time to go I just have to put the poor little dog in his box, pick up my keys and purse, and go. Previously, I ate, then put on my socks and shoes and got my phone and lunch together, put the dog in his box, and left. I always underestimated the time that would take me, especially finding a pair of matching socks, and consistently left the house five minutes later than I wanted to. No amount of getting up earlier fixed that last-minute delay. The sense of running late added stress to my commute. The new way is a distinct improvement.

Well, I've finished my coffee, and I don't hear the rain pelting as hard. It's probably an opportune moment to walk the dog. Good day to you, whoever you are.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Good morning

Since I have come back from "back east," I find that jet lag is working in my favor, in that I am easily waking up early in the morning. The fact that it's getting lighter in the morning helps, too. We're heading into the time of year that makes atonement to us for the dark winter mornings that feel like the middle of the night.

Yesterday was Easter, Resurrection Sunday. The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed.

While I was gone, spring made advances here in Western Washington. Azaleas and rhododendrons are blooming. Trees have their sweet, tender little early leaves. Magnolias and fruit trees are blooming. Tulips are up. It's a beautiful time of year.

Soon I'll put on my dog-walking clothes and walk the dog. Then I'll get dressed for work and eat some breakfast before heading into Bellingham for a day of useful toil.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


My bunkie was glad to have me home again.

He spent the time I was away boarding at the vet's office. They know and like him there, and I know they took good care of him, but he still was ecstatically happy when I picked him up. And I was happy, too.

So far his only sign of PTSD is a tendency to lick me more than usual -- which is a lot. Oh, well. He'll soon regain what level of sanity he's capable of.

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Enjoying the comforts of home

Out and about

Well, I'm back. I've been away from home for almost two weeks. I visited my brother and his wife in Toronto, Ontario,

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and from there I drove in a rental car

to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to attend the Festival of Faith &Writing at my alma mater, Calvin College.

My sister was at the Festival;

she came from California, and we stayed with our aunt and uncle who live in Grand Rapids. Our aunt also attended the Festival. Then I drove back to Toronto and came home from there.

My sister wrote a blog entry about the festival and did such a fine job that I don't need to repeat her effort: Festival of Faith & Writing 2014.

I reserved an extra day of vacation after my return, so I could have one day at home relaxing, recovering from jet lag, and doing a bit of laundry and/or housework before going back to work.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two books

I have been reading two books in the last few days, turning to one or the other as the mood strikes me. One is Life, God, and Other Small Topics: Conversations from Socrates in the City, edited by Eric Metaxas, and the other is The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

The Metaxas book is a collection of talks given at the "Socrates in the City" forum he organized in New York City. Each speaker's chapter includes the introduction Metaxas gave, the talk, and the questions and answers following. Chuck Colson and N.T. Wright are two of the names I could recognize right off the bat, as well as Metaxas himself whose biography of Bonhoeffer (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy) I've read.

The other is a childhood favorite that I still like to revisit. I think of it when I go to Hi Hoe Nursery in the spring because they have a secluded area called a "secret garden."