Too Much History and Too Many Flavors

I believe it was a commenter at According to Hoyt, a woman from Romania, who observed that you don’t want to live where a lot of history happens. The more I read about certain parts of the world, the more her words ring true. Central and Eastern Europe have a lot of history, and the historians, populists, and general population all interpret that history in all sorts of ways, sometimes at odds with each other and their neighbors. Continue reading


Miniature Roses

Not all small roses are miniatures, and some miniatures are not small rose(bushes).

A miniature rose, the last survivor of seven in that bed.

Miniature roses have small blooms, often the size of one of my thumb-nails.

Note blogger’s finger for scale.

It is a perfect rose blossom and plant, just washed on hot and then dried. Most minis are suiteble for growing in containers, or in the yard, and they tend to be hardy. They are pretty much all on their own roots, unless you get a “tree miniature.” Those are grafts onto a sturdier stem, but at that point you are looking for a plant that you want to cosset, not a “plant and forget” rose.

The ultimate “plant and forget” is the Copper Penny Jr. outside the front bathroom window. It is a climber, and the plant now blooming orange outside the window is the offspring of the original. Copper Penny Sr. was planted in that corner when we moved her in the early 1980s. It did pretty well in the sheltered corner, but died of one bad winter too many two years ago. Happily, it had seeded a successor, which is three years old and going strong. Junior is already three feet tall, but has small stems, small leaves, and tiny flowers. So yes, a climbing mini is quite possible.

The survivor plants I rescued from the grocery store are also still hanging tough near the strange buddleia. They are two years old, so they should make it if they get through this summer and the following winter. Mulch them and prune just as you would a full-sized rose, but go easy on the fertilizer. They are prone to going all leaf-no flower, or at least ours do. They also bake more than full-size if you plant them near pave, so you’ll need to mulch. (Um, yeah, and dogs that “water” them have worse effects, so keep that in mind if you plan on putting them near a right-of-way.)

Most minis are shrubs. They don’t get large enough to become ramblers, like this monster:

Thanks be its thornless, or we’d never get through that side of the garden again!

This one’s not a mini and not thornless. People tend to have third thoughts about climbing the wall to peek over.

I don’t remember what it is, but it climbed. Now it looms over 7 feet tall and threatens passing gardeners.

Oh, yeah. I’m heading out on the road, and will not have secure internet until the end of June. I’ve advance posted a lot of stuff, mostly every-other-day, but I won’t be able to release people from moderation or to answer questions for most of the time I’m gone. Yes, the house will be occupied in my absence, and yard tended to, and the neighbors will check on things, and the police are aware.

“If you Seek a Monument, Look Around You”

Today is the observation of Memorial Day. I try to get to the ceremony in the public cemetery, and we always watch the national Memorial Day concert on Sunday night. It’s family tradition by now. My parents never lectured Sib and I about Memorial Day, but they encouraged us to honor it.

The title of this post comes from Sir Christopher Wren’s epitaph in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. it also reflects the ending of Saving Private Ryan, and Abraham Lincoln’s words about being unable to further hallow the soil at Gettysburg than it had already been sanctified by the blood of the men on both sides.

Rather than say more, I’ll leave you with some music, and Kipling’ “Recessional.”

God of our fathers, known of old,
   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
   Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies;
   The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
   An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Far-called, our navies melt away;
   On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
   Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
   Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
   In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

Vikings and Leaders

Alfred the Great of Wessex is one of my heroes. I imprinted young, with the book by Alf Mapp, The Golden Dragon. The book is for kids, and is hagiographic, but it’s hard to diminish just what Alfred managed to do. I returned to him in grad school, when I read a historical fantasy novel based on his life. That got me looking for academic biographies, and I found one. Wow. Justin Pollard’s Alfred the Great draws on Alfred’s own writings, the biographies written at the time, and draws in archaeology and other things to paint the picture of someone who refused to quit, even though his own body often failed him at times of stress.* There’s a very good reason he is the only monarch in English and British history to be called “the Great.” Continue reading

Anec-data, But…

I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather in Central and Eastern Europe for a few months now, comparing it with the averages and trying to make some plans. You probably have not heard, at least if you are in the US, but they have been having flooding the past few weeks due to cool temps and heavy rains. Two to four inches in 24 hours will do that. The pattern got me thinking about “When was the last time I’ve experienced truly hot weather in northern Europe?” 2005. 1994 was not fun, but 2005 was the last time.

It’s anecdata, but… Continue reading

Who Moved my Cereal?

OK, enough is enough. They are remodeling, sort-of, the drugstore cum natural-stuff emporium where I get my medicines, drug-store stuff, and cereal.

They moved the cereal. Specifically the stuff I have been eating for over a decade now, because my gastroenterologist recommended it. They are the only place that stocks it on a regular basis, and so I buy it there rather than ordering it. And it moved!!!!!

Continue reading

It should be Clearly Familiar…

From travels (and travails) with a catfish to the challenge of a barn-owl with balance problems, it’s a Familiar world out there. Five short stories starring friends old and new. Morgana and Smiley meet for the first time, while Prof. Grayson and Chester try to sort out why a witch went nuts, and Shoshana fights a very private battle. Laughter, tears, dark magic, and the usual chaos you’ve come to associate with the Familiars.

The short stories total 47,000 words.