Monday, April 25, 2011

Roof Gardening Part 2

My gardening success/failure rate seems about on par with my homemade yogurt rate. I've made four batches of the latter and two were great and two were broken, slimy, and quick to spoil. I'm taking a break from that for a while and now trying to improve my garden.

Last week, I moved all the seedlings outside which seems to be my big mistake. The lettuce is thriving and I've had to thin it a bit. One tomato pot has some seedlings left, with several drooping or dead. The herbs are also kind of iffy. So, we reseeded the tomatoes in one pot, and I restarted some herbs and marigolds separately in yogurt containers. Just noticed the irony--I'm using up my yogurt containers for the garden instead of making new yogurt.

Lettuce in front and invisible herb sprouts behind. The thing on the side of the picture is the edge of the fire escape stairs from the apartment above us.
Tomato pot with a few sprouty looking things.

Unsuspecting mom leaves lettuce seeds in child's room during naptime. With the above result: a well-seeded chair.

Roof Gardening Part 1

We live on the second floor and our building continues out past our apartment on the first floor only. This gives us a bit of roof access through E's bedroom window. So, I decided to try a bit more gardening this year. Last year we grew tomatoes in a pot from a plant purchased at the green grocers.

Anyway, we bought some basil, thyme, rosemary, marigold, lettuce, and grape tomato seeds. We planted all of them on April 8th and put the lettuce directly outside. Everything else went on our kitchen shelves (see below). E. of course enjoyed all of this immensely, especially the scooping up and dumping in of dirt. At one point, she was digging in pots I had already seeded, which led to this often repeated (by her) comment, "Enough enough of dirt!"

She didn't actually like the feeling of dirt on her hands, so our after photo is relatively neat.

Here our seeds are all "sleeping."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Less Thrilling Mysteries

For whatever reason, my latest two mysteries were much less thrilling and interesting than past ones. I guess I shouldn't compare everyone to Chandler but these two at least didn't seem to stand alone as good writing but merely fit the bill as a "good read" in the mystery category.

The Case of the Gilded Fly was almost a three star but it was enjoyable and a quick read so I won't go that low. Too many literary allusions--like Lord Peter Wimsey on a really bad day. Especially since the book ends on a quote that's only alluded to and not spelled out at all. I tried hunting for the reference in the novel and also online but to no avail. Oh well, not that interested to know anyway, unfortunately. Other than that, I enjoyed the story. Kind of a locked room mystery. Not told from the perspective of the "detective", an Oxford literary scholar, but mostly from that of one of his former students who was one of the few with a solid alibi. I kind of liked it that detective was rather annoying to most people and had some personality flaws. It made him more amusing and took away from the excessive allusions.

The Cape Cod Mystery, however, I did call a three star. This is the first in the Asey Mayo series that I think all take place in Cape Cod. Asey Mayo is a handyman and is billed as a typical Cape Cod local, complete with odd speech patterns and incredible insight into human beings. That being said, I found it kind of boring. Too much conversation and not enough character development to help me keep track of who the various characters were. You know it's a bad sign when you have to remind yourself to take special note of who is speaking and stretch to remember if she's the young, pretty one or the older, overweight one. Mayo employed Miss Marple's technique of people reminding her of people she knew and their actions not straying from their type. This did make me wonder whether Agatha Christie stole this idea from Taylor but the characterization issues made this a little hard to buy. One point of interest was the historical details--the vacation house had electricity which was novel and a major point of the plot hinged on the bathing house and its key.

1. Sweet Danger by Margery Allingham
2. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
3. The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers
4. Detection Unlimited by Georgette Heyer
5. The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
6. something by Ellery Queen
7. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
8. Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh
9. Black Orchids by Rex Stout
10. The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout
11. The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
12. The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing
13. The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy
14. The High Window by Raymond Chandler
15. The Lady in the Lake by Chandler
16. The Little Sister by Chandler
17. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A little mid-afternoon silliness

Her only comment was, "This is not your hat. It's Daddy's hat."