Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Work in Progress & What I'm Reading Wednesday

First off, this is my first WIPW! Please check out the other folks who are participating by going to this blog:

My work in progress starts in my garden; well, it's not really "my" garden. I live in a condominium complex, and this is a piece of common ground I said I would care for. A year ago in the spring, I went in and cleared a bunch of weeds and ivy, etc. An old pine tree had been cut down the previous year from this area. I planted an herb garden, and this past spring, I added some more plants. Well, we had a very hot summer, I was serving as volunteer coordinator for the quilt show, and I was pumping out two major quilt projects; I was not out weeding the garden or otherwise tending to it. A lot of plants died (or never quite took), and a lot of weeds sprang up. While I was on vacation, the president of the condo association took it upon herself to weed and yank and otherwise clear out the yucky stuff. I apologized to her for not being more diligent, and she just snorted and said she knew how full my plate had been.

This past Saturday, I went to a local nursery and bought a bunch of hardy perennials that I knew would dig in and spread. I bought Stella d'Oro lilies, coreopsis, phlox, a lilac bush, and something called a "smoke tree." On Sunday, I talked to a friend at church who does landscaping, and she said that I made very good choices. Here is what two hours of work in 90-degree weather looks like. Mind you, the lavender, thyme, sage, and basil were all there before; I also moved the black-eyed Susan plants to new places as they hadn't fully rooted before.
Here's the smoke bush:
Here's a wide-angle shot of the whole garden. My friend suggested getting a soaker hose, and that's the black thing you see snaking through the garden. That was a 20-minute Monday evening project:
I am proud of that. I'm also proud of the bountiful tomato crop we've had this year. Here's one "patio bush" plant. Also, this quince bush was here when we bought the place, and I've made quince preserves each fall. VERY tart!

Finally, here is the current progress on the Helix socks. I'm starting to feel as though they're getting close to being done. Last night I measured, and I'm within 3/4" of the top of the cuff. I really am a slow knitter. It's so sad.

Finally, I wanted to briefly mention what I've been reading. When I posted last Wednesday, I mentioned Guy Consolmagno's book, God's Mechanics. I didn't get my hands on it until Thursday evening, and I was "that close" to being done with "Wolf to the Slaughter" by my "new discovery" Ruth Rendell. I started Guy's book Friday evening, and then on Saturday after I came in from the heat, I took the rest of the afternoon and into the evening to read the entire book. You may recall that we had promised to lend the book to a friend at church.

Without going into a long discussion, let's just say that this born-and-bred Catholic has been struggling with issues of faith and religion for over 40 years (I'm 50, do the math). There have been moments of profound insight, months of crushing doubt, weeks of fierce anger, and years of a sense of being part of something that is still being born. This was a good book for me to read at this moment of anger and doubt (this "moment" that has been going on for a couple of years). He talks about how people with a geeky frame of mind approach religion. At one point, he took a sabbatical from his job as an astronomer at the Vatican observatory to spend several months in Silicon Valley interviewing scientists and engineers about their experience of religion. He does a lot of nice descriptions of the issues for such folks in this area. He ends with reflections on his own life's journey. He never once says, "Here is the answer for you;" rather, he says, "Here are some things that make sense for me; maybe they'll spark something in you." I'm glad I read this book. It's going to continue to percolate in my brain for some time.

Last evening, as sort of an inadvertent companion piece, I read this article in the current issue of the National Catholic Reporter. It's a lifelong journey. I'm not trying to convince anyone else about anything; I'm very much a work in progress myself.


Stacey said...

Beautiful socks... and good reading recommendation! I'm an avid reader, as well :)

Dina said...

My garden spot sorta came and went also this year. Nice choices with the perennials. Very pretty sock on needles is feeling a bit abandoned at present.

Tami Klockau said...

I love to garden as well, but live in a condo. I have a large deck that I'm able to grow quite a few things in pots, including a lemon and orange tree. Sadly, a bunch of my stuff died recently as well. I'm looking for stuff that will need a little less care or will take better as well. Thanks for the suggestions! I love the Smoke Tree!

The socks look great! I really like the color.

Thanks for participating in your first WIPW and linking to the blog!

Susie said...

Aren't you lucky having quinces, I always want to make Nigella Lawson's Quincemeat but I never manage to catch them being sold. Love the socks too, and I can promise you you're not as slow a knitter as I am ;-).

resa said...

Gorgeous socks, what a lovely color.

And I could totally go for some quince preserves right now.

Thank you for the book recommendation I think I could really use a book like that right now.

Vinita said...

Beautiful socks. I love the green.

Nice garden too! I saw it on a tree in a neighboring garden and wondered what it was. Now after looking it up on wikipedia, I think may have seen the ripe form in India (where I come from) too. It must be wonderful to have a fruit tree in your garden.

Vinita said...

I seem to have deleted a sentence in between. I meant to say

Nice garden too! Quinces - that's what they are called. I saw same on a tree in a neighboring garden and wondered what it was. Now after looking it up on wikipedia, I think may have seen the ripe form in India (where I come from) too. It must be wonderful to have a fruit tree in your garden.

Vinita said...

Oh thanks for the offer to ship Liz! That's very nice of you. I AM local ( I live in the US now, I hail from India though), but in any case I wouldn't know what to do with the quinces! I might take you up on it once I figure out what :-). Thanks again!