Saturday, June 29, 2013

Randomday - Tour de Fleece!

Today is the first day of the Tour de Fleece, the spinning companion to the Tour de France.  I went all out last year and spun a sweater's worth of orange superwash, but this year I don't have any big challenges for myself.  But I will be spinning a bit, after several months of ignoring my wheel.  This is a bobbin of hemp.  I bought the top a few years ago when Woodland Woolworks was closing.  Hemp is easier to spin than flax, and it doesn't have that hay-like smell that flax does.  I'm thinking it might make some nice little knitted hand towels or dishcloths, or a market bag.

I should really look up some race coverage of the Tour de France while the spinning is going on.

21 Jokes Only Nerds Will Understand.  I found many of these hilariously funny.  There were a few I didn't get, so I guess I'm not a total nerd.  I especially like the one about the Roman who walked into a bar and asked for a martinus.  "Don't you mean a martini?" says the bartender.  And the Roman says, "If I'd wanted a double, I would have said so!" 

More proof that I'm not a true nerd: I'm not sure what will happen when Google Reader goes away on July 1, and I don't really care at this point.  Maybe I will on Monday.  I think that the Blogger dashboard, where I read my blogs, is different than Google Reader.  But I'm not sure.

It has been hot here the last few days, but not nearly so hot as in other places in the country.  More humidity than we usually have as well, but again, nothing compared to other places I've lived.  It's so nice that at night there is a cool breeze blowing.  Unfortunately, it's that time of year when the neighbors let off lots of fireworks, so I won't be able to sleep until they do.

We celebrated Daniel's birthday today with a big cookout and Triple-layer Strawberry Cake.  I'm a little tired of cooking, but we have lots of leftovers in the fridge and a few things that don't fit in the fridge.  That will resolve itself with one or two teenage midnight snacks.
I believe that all wisdom consists in caring immensely for a few right things and not caring a straw about the rest.  -- John Buchan


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Updates

I can now begin to believe that summer is here.  We've had a lot of rainy, cool weather, but there is a warming trend.  The girls are in the middle of swim lessons.  In preparation, they had their summer haircuts.  I took Quarta for hers last Saturday, and Tertia had hers yesterday.  They are both doing well in swim lessons.  It's hard to believe, but we've been going to Lakeshore Athletic Club for summer swim lessons for about 15 years now.  They have long-term teachers there... Quarta's level 4 class teacher has been teaching for 20 years and Tertia's level 3 teacher has been teaching for 35 years.  They also taught the boys a few years back.
Our lettuce patch has been very productive.  This is quite possibly the best salad ever.  Especially the dressing.
19 years ago today, this little bundle came into the world and had to be coaxed to open his eyes long enough for the newborn picture.  The photographer was insistent that babies must be photographed with eyes open before they were allowed to leave the hospital, and finally got this shot.  Daniel promptly went back to sleep and continued to sleep through all daylight hours for the next several days. 

Thanks, Daniel, for being such a sweet baby, an earnest and eager child, and an independent and thoughtful young man. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in the future, but please - don't be in too much of a hurry to leave the nest!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Lives of the Twelve Caesars

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

It's a good summer to be reading Suetonius.  Disturbing, but reassuring in a way, to realize that the cultural disintegration we are experiencing here and now is nothing new.  American exceptionalism - maybe not so much.  We have made a wilderness, and we call it progress.

I read Tacitus several years ago, and appreciated his restrained yet biting style.  I'm sorry that many of the juicy parts were lost to history.  But although both of my sons have read Suetonius as part of their classical education, I had developed my 6th grade Roman history unit without it.  So in late spring I set out to remedy the situation.  In a sense, I have learned nothing that I didn't know already, and only filled out what I already knew from secondary sources with material which is almost entirely inappropriate for 6th grade.  You might want to grab your copy of Suetonius soon, before the cultural police decide he was too judgmental and bigoted to remain on the shelves.  We already know how they feel about the Bible and those who teach from it.

Suetonius is a bit more prone to repeat hearsay than Tacitus.  And it is a bit disconcerting for a modern reader who wants to see a psychological analysis of the depravity of the Caesars, some kind of explanation for their behavior - and it is not forthcoming.  But in matters of historic record he is careful to present a balanced and fair account, with not much personal feeling coloring his writing.  The ancient Romans were, as a whole, very tolerant of anything or anyone that could conceivably be of use to them.  This open-mindedness served them well as they were building their empire.  In fact, their great irony was that they were so tolerant, even of immorality, that they became intolerant of those who adhered to any basic morality.  And when absolute power was concentrated in one emperor (who expected to be treated as a god), the new intolerance could be directed toward quite unexpected victims.

In the world's way of looking at things, both Julius and Augustus Caesar were brilliant leaders, and they were both duly deified after their deaths.  Yet the arrogance and narcissism that became pathological in their successors was present in them as well.  Strangest to modern readers is the obsessive-compulsive way they arranged their own and their families' personal lives - even to the point of arranging divorces and remarriages, frequently against the consent of the parties involved.  Check out the family tree of the Julio-Claudian emperors for just a taste of the weirdness, but prepare for a confusing time.  Ironically, with all the attention Augustus gave to micromanaging his family, he was remarkably shortsighted when it came to preparing a successor.

Source: via Katherine on Pinterest

Think Paula Deen got a raw deal?  The emperor Tiberius was so sensitive to imaginary insults that he banished a Greek leader, Xeno, for speaking a dialect that reminded him of an unhappy time in his life.  He forced Seleucus, a scholar, to commit suicide because he was too well-informed about the literature Tiberius was reading.  Of course, Tiberius was perverted as well as being cruel and, hmm, maybe you could say "capricious" if you wanted to make a bad pun.  So many Romans were killed without cause during his reign that no one thought of deifying him when he finally died.

Caligula - even Suetonius calls him a monster.  Probably the less said about him, the better.  His attempts to define as normal whatever he wanted to do were not accepted by the people, and were ultimately not successful.  There is no denying that human life was not valued highly in ancient times, and that common decency was hard to come by.  But then you read a story like this one and wonder whether we should really feel superior at all.  Or when a shrieking mob of activists is so devoted to the killing of late-term babies that they shout down a Texas bill preventing abortion when a child is capable of feeling pain.

I always felt sorry for emperor Claudius.  Awkward and weak, he was despised by his own family members and was never expected to amount to anything - so he wasn't prepared to be a leader.  It's hardly surprising that he was not a capable leader, and that his great weakness of falling for inappropriate women led to his downfall.

The first recorded account of gay marriage was by the emperor Nero.  Oddly enough, this is not something that makes it into the current press coverage, but I'll quote from Suetonius, p. 228, right after Nero raped the Vestal Virgin Rubria:

"Having tried to turn the boy Sporus into a girl by castration, he went through a wedding ceremony with him -- dowry, bridal veil and all -- took him to his palace with a great crowd in attendance, and treated him as a wife.  A rather amusing joke is still going the rounds: the world would have been a happier place had Nero's father Domitius married that sort of wife."

There follows a paragraph describing Nero's most likely incestuous relationship with his mother Agrippina, and then another gay wedding, this time with Nero playing the bride.  So much for the "committed, loving" relationships we keep hearing about as the gay agenda is imposed on modern America: the second time was with Doryphorus, not Sporus.  It would have been amusing, if it had not been accompanied by so much wanton cruelty.  Nero was responsible for killing an obscene number of human beings who crossed him, including most of his family members.  The word "unnatural" does come to mind.  One can only imagine what might have happened to the poor florist who refused to provide flowers for his gay wedding.

I wonder, will future generations look with the same freak-show amusement at modern America that we have when we read about the decadence of the Ancient Romans?  Bottom line, what I get from Suetonius is, the ancient decadent Roman emperors practiced perversity and the cruel slaughter of innocent people, but even the pagan historians still viewed their behavior as unnatural and depraved.  Human cultures do not turn around on a dime (or a sestertius), and trying to force people to accept what they know at a very deep level to be wrong will not be successful.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Design Wall Monday and Stash Report

I'm really happy with the way my quilt is shaping up.  I need to come up with a name for it... how about "Country Stars."  The main block is an Ohio Star variation, and the outer setting blocks are Cross Country.  I was inspired to make this by a quilt I saw at The Pine Needle quilt shop in Lake Oswego, several years back.  I have been saving my reproduction scraps and primitive/country fabrics for awhile now, and it seemed like a good, fairly straightforward pattern to start off the summer with.  I now have 18 of the total of 32 Ohio Star blocks pieced.  I'm running out of space on my design wall, though. I played with making a collage of some of them, with a Cross Country block in the lower right:
The only problem is, the red for the Cross Country blocks and setting triangles.  It's from Judy Rothermel's Sturbridge Village Scarlet collection, and I bought 2 yards of it a few years ago, not thinking about how much more I'd really need.  It might make all the 18 Cross Country blocks and setting triangles, but it sure won't be enough for the outer 6" borders I'm planning.
So I went looking, and found the fabric on the left that is not a match, but closely complementary, I think.  If I can make the Scarlet last for the setting blocks and setting triangles, then I will cut the final borders from the 2.5 yards of the Bonnie Blue that I just bought.  I think.  Unless I can find more of the Scarlet, because I really like it!  Oh, and I will need to buy more plain black for the sashing, too.  I did buy half a yard of a black print that I really liked at Country Manor Fabrics but I will save it for something else:
I need to be careful, even though I am buying fabric for specific quilt projects, I could easily buy more fabric than I have space to store, and my goal is to use up what I have.  Or is it?

Stash Report:

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 41 yards
Added this week: 3 yards
Added year to date: 26 yards
Net used for 2013: 15 yards

Knitting yarn:
Yarn used this week: 0 yards
Yarn used year to date: 6000 yards.
Yarn added this week: 0 yards
Yarn added year to date: 3800 yards
Net used for 2013: 2200 yards

And also check out Judy L.'s Design Wall linkup for what others are working on!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Randomday: It's Not Easy Being Green

Daniel was picking some of the yellow raspberries and called us out to see the most beautiful little frog this week.  It looks like he was gilded with gold paint.
He was sporting some stylish black racing stripes too.
Quarta gave one of the red raspberries to Winky the Hamster and took this photo.  I have been scrambling for things to keep the girls busy with this first week of no school, and coming up empty for things I can give them that don't require me to supervise.  Quarta can earn "screen time" on Minecraft or other entertainment by doing chores.  The other day I decided we needed to tidy up the game cabinet.  It turned out to need more Mommy involvement than I wanted, but it's done now.
The front hall closet contains puzzles and "sometimes" games, plus the ones that are too big to put into the cabinet over the dryer where the "often" games go.  We have a lot of games.
With a little room on one side for the dryer sheets.  There were a few games that we decided not to keep anymore, including a well-loved Cranium Cariboo.  The girls played it one last time before it goes to the thrift store.
Thanks to Tertia's Spring Choir concert, we all have songs from Les Mis stuck in our heads.  But Tertia's personal favorites seemed to be the ones from the Queen medley - Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions.

Summers in the Northwest are deceptive.  You think, because it's still light, that it's relatively early in the evening.  But then you realize it's 10:00 and the little kids aren't in bed yet, and the next morning is a killer.  And then you stay up to watch Psycho because Secundus has always wanted to see it, and it's 11:30 and there's no way you're going to be able to sleep.  In the first part of the movie, where she pulls over to sleep by the highway just north of L.A., and the cop picks up her trail, I recognized the hill from the establishing shot.  We stay at a new Holiday Inn there nearly every Spring break.  If only it had been there then, she might never have gone to the Bates Motel.  Tonight, Puss In Boots is on the agenda.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lovage and Authenticity

I had to cook dinner the other night, which is nothing new.  I usually have to cook dinner.  It's just harder when one family member has braces and doesn't want to eat anything crunchy, one has recently become a vegetarian, and two of them rotate around whether they will eat vegetables or not.  And two of them have probably depleted the fridge of the ingredients that I was counting on.  My sympathy levels are not great for the ones who are old enough to fend for themselves, and they are all over 10 so are theoretically able to help at least a little.  Anyway, that's the dinner situation at our house lately.  Coming up tonight, I think I'm going to cash in my gift card for Papa Murphy's, and make Quarta make a fruit salad.

We had a bunch of lovage from our Grace's Garden share.  Lovage looks like a cross between celery and parsley; it's got larger leaves than parsley, and it doesn't have thick stalks like celery; its flavor is a little like celery but much, much stronger.  So strong that after nibbling a leaf, I decided it would need to be cooked, not used in salads.  It has a little of that "if I eat too much of this it will give me a headache" taste, if that makes any sense.  I also remembered reading something about lovage at my new favorite Ancient Roman food blog, Pass the Garum.  So I went there and did a search.  Apparently the Ancient Romans loved lovage, especially the seed, and used it frequently.  I found two recipes that call for lovage seed, not the green herb, and I decided to freely adapt them for Tuesday night dinner.

Sautéed Cabbage with Lovage a la Apicius - inspired by Sweet Cabbage

I may be very deferential to the ancients when I teach Latin, but I'm not going to give up my modern cooking equipment, techniques, and certain prejudices -- like you don't boil cabbage.   You just don't.  So I decided to sauté my 1/3 of a chopped cabbage in a little olive oil, along with chopped onion, ground pepper, and chopped lovage.  It gave off a mysterious, dusky, old-world kind of smell when the lovage was added.  Once the vegetables were crisp-tender, I added a teaspoon of Thai fish sauce (the nearest equivalent to liquamen).  And because I don't have any raisin wine handy, I put in a few tablespoons of honey and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  It was a very nice way to prepare cabbage, and you tasted the exotic flavor of the lovage without it being overpowering.  Just don't expect cabbage to cure all diseases.

Baked Chicken with vaguely Roman seasonings - inspired by Parthian Chicken

You can tell that I do not pride myself on my food photography, and that I can't really follow a recipe at all.  I still want to try the real Parthian Chicken recipe, but on a weeknight when I was tired to begin with, this was quite successful.  Except with Secundus, the vegetarian.  I had chicken breasts defrosted and ready to bake; I just decided to use some Roman-esque seasonings on them at the last minute.  I drizzled them with olive oil, then the juice of half a lime, then chopped garlic and fennel and lovage and a little cilantro, plenty of pepper, and finally some caraway seed, ground in my mortar and pestle.  Bake at 350 until it's done, and it's good.  Better than the picture.

So there you go - two Roman-inspired dishes featuring lovage, prepared in an American kitchen by a tired mom.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WIP Wednesday; State of the Yarn

It's been an exciting week.  School is now out (yay!), I finished Orca Bay:
...and a massive swarm of bees paid a 24-hour visit to our sycamore tree:
Those things are all blogged about in their place.  On what is actually progressing on the quilting and knitting fronts, I have a little less to say.  I haven't gotten into the swing of the summer schedule yet (at all?) and am dabbling.  Not cranking out impressive projects yet, but certainly thinking that I would like to.
My design wall has increased a bit since Monday.  I am working on a quilt inspired by a quilt at a shop in Lake Oswego about 5 years ago, trying to recreate the feel that I liked without going too far into the Civil War era.  The 2 yards of Judie Rothermel's Sturbridge Village Scarlet that I have will not be enough for the setting triangles, cross country inner border blocks, and wide outer border strips.  I will have to investigate finding more of that fabric, substituting a similar fabric, or going half and half.  I know I like that exact shade of red, though.  I bought fabric on Saturday for backing my Farmer's Wife quilt top; I also need to find the appropriate thread for machine quilting it.  I am giving myself permission to do a bit more shopping in the next week or so.  That should be fun.
 For the yarn-along, here's about an inch of progress made on my perpetual Farmer McGregor socks since last week, and three nonfiction books I'm dabbling in.  Suetonius: The Twelve Caesars - definitely counts as history.  Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible - kind of counts as history.  I've learned fascinating things about the changing roles of the T-shirt.  The Plan - this is a healthy eating for weight loss kind of book, and I sincerely doubt I will be hard-core enough to go on an elimination diet of flax seeds and kale.  But I did buy a digital scale and I am trying to drink half my body weight, in ounces, of water every day.  That's the main thing I've appreciated from it so far. 
The socks are not moving very fast.  Quarta organized the winter woolies drawer and gave me these mittens, which are now too small for her.  Now, that was a knitting project I really loved.  It seemed to fly by.
One of the thumbs needs some repair before another child tries to wear them.  I also darned a couple of pairs of Daniel's homemade socks this week.  Hoping to get more actual knitting done this week.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Political Tuesdays: There Oughta Be a Test

"No man undertakes a trade he has not learned, even the meanest; yet everyone thinks himself sufficiently qualified for the hardest of all trades, that of government." -  Socrates

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is a force like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." - George Washington

Let's be honest, right up front: I don't have energy for a full-deal political satire post today.  I'm fresh out of school and need to be in recovery mode for awhile.  The leaders of the country will have to do their best without my input, as if they ever listened.

But because I am in post-school-year recovery mode, my mind is on the only concrete tool that we teachers have to evaluate proficiency, or even competency, in any subject: testing.  We test our students weekly on the basics, we coach them over the long term and prep them as best we can for those big tests that a lot is riding on: the ERB, the SAT, the AP, and perhaps the most dreaded of them all, the driver's exam.  (Actually, it's parents that do the driver's exam practice, but I know that role too).  We're disappointed with them when they fail and delighted when they do well.  American students have great test-taking skills, and even though some folks think we test them too much and the tests aren't fair representations of their ability, still there is a certain objectivity in being able to point to a solid test score.  It represents work, natural ability, and interest level, and is one of the best predictors we have of future success in academic fields.

So why isn't there a test for government service?  I would think that this is something Democrats and Republicans alike could agree on.  We want competent people in leadership positions, not professional politicians.  Don't we?  It would be nice, even if they are professional politicians, to know that they passed a basic competency test on knowledge of American history, the Constitution, and math (presuming they come anywhere within shouting distance of managing budgetary issues).  Knowledge of the rest of the world, of world affairs and current events, would also be a big plus.  It would also be a good-faith gesture on the politicians' part, showing that they really do have an interest in serving their country and improving any deficits they might have in their own personal knowledge banks. 

Personally, I'd like to see a very basic citizenship test, one requiring a one-time proof that, yes, I am a citizen, and that I know the name of the current President, my congressional representatives, and the three branches of government, before anyone could be eligible to vote.  I'm not talking about a test that would be too difficult for my daughter who has Down syndrome to pass when she comes of voting age.  But I think that making the privilege of voting available so easily to everyone, as we do now, cheapens it, and mass voting blocs made up of an uneducated electorate who don't really care about their vote are far too easily manipulated by professional politicians.  I know, it sounds pretty radical.  But at the very least, I think our elected officials should have to demonstrate competency before standing for election to high office.

So, think about it.  What measurable proof do we have that any of our politicians are competent to govern?  Yes, there are lots of intangibles that a test couldn't cover, and that's why it should be basic.  But if people are trying to balance the budget without being able to do math, or developing anti-terrorism policy without knowing what's happening in Syria or Libya, it becomes the whole nation's problem, not just one congressional district's.

There oughta be a test.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Design Wall Monday - And Stash report

 Here's what's on my design wall this Monday.  I'm going with this inspiration:

I'm using scraps from previous "Civil War" quilts, but trying for an overall effect that is more "country" and not so much of either Civil War or Christmas.  Soon I will need to calculate yardage needed for the red.  But for now I'm enjoying playing with different color combinations for the Ohio Star blocks.
Our adventures with the bees made me remember this old cross-stitch I did years back.
For a long time there was a pile of bees on the garage roof, underneath their original spot.  I have no idea what they were doing.
They repositioned themselves once or twice early this morning, then seemed to be quite comfortable here for awhile.  You can kind of see to the left, where they flattened some of the leaves from swarming around that branch before.
I took this picture in case we needed someone to come and remove them, but it turns out they removed themselves about midafternoon.  They just started swarming again, and moved off -- first over the neighbors' yard, then across the street (they were fascinated by the streetlight pole for awhile) and then... somewhere else.  From what I understand about bees, they have three days' worth of honey inside them to allow them to find their new home.  I hope it will be in the neighborhood -- but maybe not right over our back deck!
It's been a busy couple of days.  I also finished Orca Bay.

Stash Report.

Fabric used this week: 1 yard for binding Orca Bay
Fabric used year to date: 41 yards
Added this week: 5 yards (backing for Farmer's Wife, extra-wide, plus some more Kona Copenhagen)
Added year to date: 23 yards
Net used for 2013: 18 yards

Knitting yarn:
Yarn used this week: 0 yards
Yarn used year to date: 6000 yards.
Yarn added this week: 0 yards
Yarn added year to date: 3800 yards
Net used for 2013: 2200 yards

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Father's Day Swarm: Out on a Limb, part 2

I was standing on the side patio, talking to Dad on Father's day on my cell phone.  I heard nothing other than the conversation, because I am deaf in my left ear.  It was a gorgeous day, soft breeze blowing.  Steve and his Mom came out of the door so he could walk her to her car after having dinner with us.  I heard a sudden sharpness in their voices, a somewhat panicked "Shut the door!",  turned and saw that they were concerned about something.  Something right over my head.  Bees.  Thousands of them, swarming.
 Grandma got away in her car just fine.  The bees were not interested in us, but it was certainly a fascinating nature study for us.  At first we thought they were attracted to the spruce tree by the front door.  But after several minutes of buzzing (in addition to however many they had been buzzing while I was on the phone right underneath them), they settled on the sycamore tree by the back deck, behind the garage.  (Sycamore tree features in part one of this saga as well).
 In a surprisingly short time they clustered in one large mass, weighing down the limb.
 A closeup so you can see some of the fliers.
 The sycamore is a big, stately tree.  It's doing our roof no favors, but it keeps the house nice and cool most of the summer.  Quarta loves climbing it.  I would have been right up there too, at her age.
 For perspective, this is our stand-alone garage with the swarm about 5 feet above it.
 After about an hour there, they swarmed loose again and most of them flew up higher.  It was as if the bee engineers pointed out a problem with the branch; maybe the weight of the colony was too much for that branch.  After about 15 minutes of swarming at higher elevation over the rooftop, they settled into two different spots, high up in the same sycamore.
 Underneath the location of the first settlement, there is a small pile of bees on the garage roof.  Are they protecting a queen?  A food cache?  Injured members of the colony who have lost the ability to fly?  The pile has been there for several hours, although it's too dark now to check.
After we came home from evening service, the bees had settled in yet another location, apparently all in one spot again, high up on the opposite side of the sycamore from where they started.  At least 40 feet up, I think.  Which is good in the sense that they are less likely to bother the family as we go about our business in the yard, but bad in the sense that they would be very hard to reach if we get the professional beekeepers to come in.  All things considered, I'm pretty sure there are better places in Clark County for the bees to settle than our yard... but I'm kind of flattered that they chose us.  We'll see where they are tomorrow before making any calls.

Orca Bay: Out on a Limb, part 1

The old sycamore tree by the back deck has the perfect branch for displaying a finished quilt.  And I am pleased to introduce Orca Bay, finished at last!  It has been since February of 2012 that it has been waiting to be quilted.
 It's somewhat anticlimactic to finish something that has this many pieces in it, that I started working on so long ago.  I'm really pleased with it, though.  Bonnie Hunter's patterns are stunning.  You can find it in her String Fling book.
 You can see the squiggle-loop-star quilting (my easy-quilting trademark) and the new, all-machine-sewn binding with accent flange.  I like that binding! I may do it a lot more now I know how!
 At midrange, the colors really sparkle.
I used some fabric my mom had for the backing, and made up a quick label.  Quarta practically lives in the sycamore tree during the summer, that's why there's a bucket to lift up her books and picnic lunch.  As of today, though, the sycamore tree has several thousand new occupants.  More about them in the next post, part 2.
Yesterday, while I was doing quilt photography, I decided to do a little garden photography too.  This is a clump of Nigella.
Most of the mustard has passed the mustard-greens stage and is working on going to seed.  We tend to let it, and that's why we never need to plant mustard seeds.
The red columbine has made itself comfortable by the back garden for several years now.
The California Poppies like the sunny West side of the garage, where our tomatoes and peppers have the best chance.
Up until today, we mostly had Mason bees and bumblebees in our garden.
I'm not sure about bee varieties, but I think this one was a Mason bee.  He held still long enough for this shot.
Daniel is cleaning out the overgrown perennial garden for me.  The outer part of the triangle is formed by the foundation of an old barn or other outbuilding, from back when our house was part of a working farm.  I've been wanting to clean out all the daffodil bulbs and iris rhizomes for some time, and make it more of a colonial/Victorian herb garden with a limited number of flowers.
 Quarta made "bunny salad" for our dinner.  A salad that looks like something cute is always fun.