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Today in tiny problems…

Today in tiny problems: I have run out of bath bombs.

After all the gardening work, I need a nice hot, soaking bath, & I cannot have a proper soaking bath without fizzy bath bombs.

It says something about me that I find making my own bath bombs from scratch easier than finding ones I like to buy.

Easier by leaps & bounds.

That’s it. Not a big gripe, but all mine.

I’ll make more bath bombs tomorrow.

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Getting all the things done

It was a day for doing all the things. I started with phone calls before breakfast, (follow-up on garden work scheduling) then played in the dirt, laid bricks & fortified the anti-chipmunk defenses. I did another phone call & writing in the afternoon AND had a ‘brar shift in the evening.

(Plus brushing the cat & entertaining him by digging in the dirt right outside his favorite watch-the-birdies window. One must not forget the all-important task of entertaining the cat.)

The biggest happy? I am physically tired, but not exhausted or injured. Daily life is a contact sport. I have to use the right protective gear to accommodate the needs of a body that really, really isn’t designed for doing all the things I want to do with it.

Shifting around 4 bags worth of gravel, a bag of sand, 4 12-lb pavers and some head-sized landscaping rocks isn’t a task I could have tackled last spring. Or the spring before that. My skin just wasn’t up to the abuse.

Honestly it still isn’t, but I start any major outdoor labor wit major prrep now.

Wrap the wrists in support tape. Layer silicone finger protectors over any iffy digits. Then nitrile gloves, then work gloves.

Does that seem like a lot? It feels like a lot, esp. after 50 years of doing all but the gnarliest garden labor bare-handed, but the results rock AND roll. Tired muscles, happy brain, but no new skin rips, tears or eczema patches. On my hands.

My knees? That’s another story, and my next challenge.

I need new knee pads that don’t annoy the shit out of me. I take them off & end up aggravating the eczema patches on my kneecaps every time I go crawling under stairs or weeding my way through flower beds.

But that’s a challenge for another day.

Those me things again (I promise, I’ll present them in a different format eventually)

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WTF Birdseed

Birdseed is a big thing here at Herkes House. The backyard birds get served finch mix & sunflower year-round, & in spring I get a big bag of thistle seed so I can add 2 finch feeders in summer.

I don’t look at labels when I shop. Birdseed bags are clear plastic. I check to make sure the proportion of seeds in the blend is what I want, & I eyeball the condition of the sunflower seeds. If they’re looking buggy or shriveled, I’ll pick a different bag. That’s what I focus on.

Thus I didn’t notice the “Nyger seed” label on the thistle seed I grabbed until today when I opened up everything.

WTF is this nonsense? Does someone at Corporate Birdseed honestly think people won’t know what Nyger seed is? (Do people not know? ICYMI, Nyger seed is Niger thistle seed is THISTLE SEED.) I took a look online, nd YUP. Nyger seed all over the place now.

I haven’t seen such blatant attempt at identity obfuscation since rapeseed oil turned into Canola oil way back when.

Now, that name change made sense. It was legit off-putting, a victim of accidental adjacency, perfectly primed for a nice, fresh healthy-sounding makeover. (The plant name comes from the Latin word for turnip, as best I can determine.)

This Nyger seed thing? It’s an exercise in absurdity.

I understand how it happened. Corporate Birdseed Exec looks at the spreadsheets & declares, “Thistle always at the bottom of the sales list. ID the problem & increase our thistle sales.” Corporate Birdseed Middle Management does focus groups or polls or hires consultants, and two accurate answers come back: one, thistle is expensive & two, lots of people don’t like the way finches carry whole mouthfuls around and drop seeds in the garden, where it sprouts.

So most people don’t bother feeding pure thistle.

Corporate Middle Management examines the issues. The seed density in a poud of thistle is off the charts. Can’t make it less expensive. Can’t make birds stop dropping seeds, either. But hey-howdy, what if people don’t know they’re buying thistle?

The relabeling orders go out. They replace the i with a y to make it look fancier and just leave off the word thistle entirely. “Maybe people will think it’s something new & improved” they hope.


I understand the how & the why, but it’s still RIDICULOUS.

I’m here to tell you, rebranding will not prevent thistle plants from growing out of the fancy-named seeds.

Seeds don’t read labels either.

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another day another post

Saturday, rest day, cooking day, play day. I scheduled things to my Patreon for the next little while (except for the exclusive Mister Pips pics, those get added weekly on Caturday-Saturday) puttered around a lot, and scheduled a lot of things for another day.

Here’s the “I swear I did something other than sit at the window, watch birds, & drink tea” list**:

  • enjoyed the coffee cake I bought yesterday at Caputos
  • watered the new plantings even though it rained recently, because I like to give new perennials a week of pampering before abandoning them to the elements. Okay, so, that’s a lie I keep pampering them for always, just not the same way.
  • took a long, gray-day walk out in the cool & damp
  • made chili. Mmmm, chili.
  • Restrained myself & didn’t make cornbread bc we got delicious sourdough yesterday
  • cleared some Old Unidentified Things from the back of the fridge
  • remembered a bunch of things to add onto the grocery list
  • made a different list for Monday’s planned home-improvement store excursion to continue Anti-Chipmunk campaign & add some anti-erosion splash stone around two downspouts & one of the rain garden dry-well overflows.

There will be more plant purchasing next week. Not Monday, though. We’ll pick another day for that. There’s a list for plants too, but I made that list last autumn. Can’t do too much garden planning, right?

**not that there is anything wrong with sitting at the window watching birds all day. Just ask Mister Pips. Although he doesn’t drink tea. Usually.

I’m wrapping with links again. I”m trying to get used to adding things like that, and I hope readers will get used to seeing them or even, I dunno, maybe be tempted by them?

I don’t know why I get self conscious about I appreciate & don’t mind links when I see them on other people’s blogs, (and am regularly tempted by them) but when it’s my blog, I feel different. Why? Dunno. I’ll wrestle with that mystery another day.

Anyway. The me things:

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It was a Friday of ups & downs

Extra work day this week at the library job. We had our annual emergency training, along with other in-service programs. First in-person meeting since November 2019. Still feels weird & wild to be meeting in big groups. But being able to meet together? That was a big up.

Down? Big room full of people, about 10% masking. And no, I was not masked through 100% of the event. In the the stuffy room packed to capacity w/100+ people? YOU BETCHA, but elsewhere, no. I know, not masking everywhere in every situation puts me in the “DGAF about anyone else’s health” camp, and I know masking in any areas puts me in the “alarmist so I’ll neither gonna justify nor defend.

Moving on, another up: really tasty pizza and greens salad and fruit salad for lunch from a local restaurant. Down: even as we were attending our session on active threat response, an area high school’s active threat alarm went off–false alarm! everyone’s safe!–but the lockdown was still real, evacuation, & who the fuck knows how much stress & anxiety for students, family, faculty, & the first responders.

Not sure what it says about the condition of the universe, but it’s probably not good.

ANYway. To decompress after Day Spent Around People with a side of ‘Murica, I took a walk w/Spouseman. We took a peek at our local new, neighborhood grocery (glam! shiny! full of tasty tidbits, fruit & veg, baked goods & prepared foods!) They also had $1 reusable bags, so I got one. And took picture of it of course. And…filled it with things. Another up!

Himself went off to the game store after that, and I strolled home through the rain (another up, I love rain walks) with snack mix, sourdough bread, fancy cheese, apples & coffee cake. And a gallon of milk. (Milk is heavy. That’s a down.)

Good treats, and a good quiet, low-expectations evening spent enjoying them equals another up, maybe the biggest one. Added bonus, that trip fended off the obligation of going Real Grocery Shopping for at least another week. Big yay!

There was also laundry today. Because there is always laundry. I’m honestly delighted I managed to get it done and a full day of work AND some relaxation.

Tomorrow there will be more coffee cake, and there will be writing.

Yup, I like that footer.