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Pretty sure …? that I did everything at the shop today, the closing procedures, I mean.  There’s nothing missing from the mental list, nothing to do with money or lights or locks or anything else; it just feels as if someone else was there all afternoon and I was watching.

Around the time I came in a woman was browsing, talking to Perry, and stepping over the dog.  She wanted to know what the fiber was for, and Perry told her about felting and spinning, that she spins with a wheel, and I spin with a drop spindle.  So she didn’t know what a spindle was, so I came over and took one that had a little bit of fine black yarn started on it, and twirled it around.  Then, because that proves nothing, I reached for a little piece of grey fluff hanging over the rim of an open bag of wool, used the black yarn as a leader, and showed how the twist climbs into the little disordered cloud.  I spun a fine thread, finer than what was already there.  It broke but I started again, reproduced it.  She couldn’t at first see how this was related to yarn that you make sweaters from.  You can ply two, three, or more together, I said.  You can also make them much thicker than this.  I rolled a piece on my thigh — “oh, so this” — the spindle — “is just there to keep it turning.”  Pretty much.  It’s a machine, as I mentioned here a bit earlier, just one with no moving parts.  She kept thanking me and apologizing for taking up my time.  But that was what I came to do, mostly.  I had chosen some random spindle that was just okay … on purpose.  We also have several of these right now, but I have never yet seen anyone pick one up without buying it (it’s happened to me twice now), that’s how good they are.  I know not to pick one up and wave it around carelessly, because they’re magic; they teleport your money to Oregon.

And here for your enjoyment is a bubinga tree (Guibourtia demeusei) of Cameroon:


(image source:

8 Reasons Why Bubinga Is Awesome (includes images of beautiful bubinga-wood things other than spindles; the ninth reason has to be that it’s just a fun word to say.)


Four (?) years ago — that sounds long, maybe it’s three — I planted two or three strawberry plants in the tiny square of dirt I have as a garden.  The first year there were only five berries or so, and I had also planted peas and had a couple of pods.  That winter everything lay under a four-foot bank of ice that was compacted with gravel and repeatedly shoved against the side of the building by the snowplows.  But the strawberries came back.  There were more plants; they had put out runners.  This kept happening.  They always survive, and each year there are more plants and each plant is bigger, or let’s say the largest plant is always bigger than the previous year’s champion.  This year there were “lots of berries” by the poignant standards of the years before.  Then the building needed a coat of paint, and even though he was careful the painter spattered most of the plants with white.  A couple of days later, all the berries were gone, as if they’d been sucked through their stems by something underground.  So there was nothing for me.  I didn’t really want fruit with paint on it, but something must have.  Just this past week, though, another berry grew apparently out of nowhere and turned red at the right time for me to see it and pick and eat it before anything else could.  So that is the extent of the people food I’ve grown for myself this year, unless I get some coriander seeds.  I love cilantro, but I didn’t get around to picking any of it before it shot up like a tree and blossomed, and I figured it might not be any good after that.

The end.

at the Farmers’ Market!  I sold two things sold two things sold two things.  Actually they sold themselves and I received the money.

One was a string bag I made from nettle-fiber yarn, and the other was a soft little pink wool bag that closes with a lens-shaped button made of bone, and a white ribbon.  I was not interested in buttonholes at the time I made that one.

The stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is a friend to mankind.

We listened to the National Guard band, and I finished another string bag, a strangely-proportioned little one made of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy.  In the future I won’t use that for any more string bags, although it’s strong enough.  It should be a real fabric so it can swish around and say, look at me, I’m so drapey, I’m so shiny.  That bag, I think, would make a good hammock for a toy.  I have a toy shark that would look just right in it.  Maybe if I actually make some little toys for next week they can pose with it.  Not thinking particularly of typical amigurumi, just maybe it’s time to use that Jelly Yarn and make some sea anemones.

And more nettle bags.

And more colors of cotton bags.

And more cellphone sleeves.

And let’s not forget to finish that thrice-cursed shop sample sometime this century.


Stanley (image source:

So happy that Hulu has it.  Thirty years later it’s still without equal.


This page is just one of many “treehouses” at the wonderful Tree of Life Web Project.  Rylan Higgins, a student at the University of Arizona, shares the process of learning about an organism found in his everyday environment.

The weed turns out to be little mallow (Malva parviflora):


When I was an environmental inspector for Kentucky DEP, one of “my” wastewater facilities was at a slaughterhouse and sausage factory.  There was a small pond on the property that was ringed with large plants the operator identified as mallow (a different species, probably a Hibiscus).  They had big showy pink and white flowers like party dresses.  We were standing at the edge of this pond on a sweltering day watching rafts of a pale blue egglike substance make slow majestic circles.   This was cyanobacteria.  In a puff of breeze, the pastel flowers waved at the china-blue flotilla as it passed in review.

Trying to figure out just what we’ve got ourselves here….
No more than an inch and a half high, this little stem is (4 cm?), soft, light green but not yellowish, with leaves that stuck out in all directions when I first picked it, but now twenty minutes later are lying flat all around the stem, so that the shape of it is not flat but cylindrical, almost.
It’s more like Lycopodium selago than anything else I can find:


It’s also known as Huperzia selago, common name:  Northern firmoss or fir clubmoss.  (Are they not the same plant?  If not, H. selago is the right one).  During the Carboniferous period there were forests and forests of them, along with horsetails and ferns, and some of their cousins were a hundred feet tall.  In timeline here, see at 300 Mya.

L. selago at Discover Life

…at Dave’s Garden



The old folktale

Kipling’s poem

Why roses cannot really be blue, and another poem

Or can they? Commercial debut

About delphinidin

Here.  Find out about the taxonomy and distribution of all your favorites.  Look at maps and virtual globes.  palaeontology, cladistics, geochronology.

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)


Thinking about the episode of Chopped with the ginkgo nuts, and subsequently looking for info on ginkgo nuts, I read they appear in Chinese dishes called “eight-jeweled [thing].” But all the “eight-jeweled [thing]” recipes I’ve found so far lack ginkgo nuts; in this post-flu-vaccination torpor I can’t even seem to figure out the other seven jewels. I don’t have any ginkgo nuts or other jewel-like nuts to cook with and have to give midterms today and am really not hungry anyway, but this is getting on my nerves. If the ingredients aren’t listed in the order of use [ed.:  I guess they are, actually] and peanuts are coming into the picture right at the beginning, what the hell good is it to know that onion and bok choy are the first and last? What the hell are the other six, in a ginkgo-less timeline? Do the peanuts qualify because they were removed after the first time they were added? Peanuts. Water chestnuts. Onions. Bok choy. Green peppers. Straw mushrooms. ?



This confusion and petulance is all about the whole torpor thing, I know.  I probably couldn’t deal with taking my own midterm right now.



The Ratel Motel