Friday, August 19, 2022

Books & Blooms

Thank you to everyone who left recommendations for books on my last post. I've already added many of them to my TBR list and I look forward to checking them out! As my last few months of pictures show, books and flowers are a major theme around these parts.

Flower farming was hot and heavy during July and the first half of August. There are several bits of wisdom passed among farmers about this time, all along the lines of "Never make decisions in August" and "Don't quit in August". It can be really hard to find the motivation to go outside in the 100 degree F + heat index to work, especially after being worn down by 6 months of planting, watering, harvesting, weeding, and shoveling. Luckily the heat and humidity broke last week and so my soul was somewhat restored. 

The garden below was a long time in the making. Last year I cut the border and tilled the grass up, then planted a cover crop which grew during the winter. In the spring, Jason weed whacked the cover crop down, then I covered the whole thing with plastic to help cook down some of the plant matter. After that I covered it all with cardboard and several inches of compost. Everything you see was grown from seed. I do cut flowers from this garden, but it's become the wild English cottage garden I dreamed of, and we can see it from the house which makes it extra rewarding.

In July I spent several long nights (out until 9pm or later) planted the cutting garden across the street. (The house surrounded by all the trees is ours, so that gives you an idea of the proximity.) It's now full of zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, marigolds, and celosia. I'll share pictures soon, if it wasn't killed by the spraying of herbicide to kill everything else in that field this morning (I have feelings about this.)

The sunflower field really did look beautiful during peak flower. Sunflower fields are a THING now and they are popping up all over the place. I'm sure this is 75% the result of social media and people's desire to take photos. 

A view of the upstairs that I rarely show. The whole second floor of our house is just 2 rooms; this library/sitting room, and through the door is my office/craft room. Jason and I also keep our dressers here and each have a closet, and we use the bathroom. I suppose that the room that I use as an office was intended to be the primary bedroom, but it has 4 windows and 3 skylights and we'd rather sleep in the cave on the main floor. These two rooms are also mainly MINE and have decorated them however I want. (A Room of One's Own, and all that.) No toys allowed! Except for one pinata.

I visited my favorite Friends of the Library used bookstore recently (home of the danger section) and it was fabulous and fruitful as always. Most of these books are $3!

I even got a book from the danger section: The Sun is a Compass, which is about a couple who travel 4,000 miles by foot, ski, and boat through some very cold places. I can't wait; I can read about other people's physical discomfort without actually leaving my climate-controlled house! I'm also excited about all of the other books in this stack. I have read Big Magic before, but it's been awhile and I want to revisit the ideas. I have already finished The Principles of Uncertainty, which is packed full of paintings and is my favorite genre of book: hand-written

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was published in 2017 but is super-buzzy right now because of TikTok. (I think, obviously I had to Google why I was 254th on the holds list for a 5-year-old book.) It didn't turn out to be about what I thought it would be about (I won't spoil it!) It was a fun, fast-paced read, and I appreciated that the author didn't resort to twee endings. It was also a great example of how to make an unlikeable character likeable. I would definitely read more by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

The Maid was another super-buzzy book. It turns out that the author ("Prose" is 100% a pen name) is a high-level exec for a major publishing company, so cynical me is sure that she really knew what she was doing promotion-wise. This ended up being a weird read for me. It had some fun bits, but I found the main character to be so inconsistent. She is supposed to be autistic (maybe, it never explicitly says), but she also seems painfully naïve. The main plot is a mystery, and then at the end the main character basically says, "Oh yeah I actually know who the killer is but I just haven't brought it up." UGH. Cheers to the author for trying to do something different, but in the end I don't think it worked.