Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fall

Well, today was the day - first frost on the neighbouring roofs. It hasn't gotten down to the ground yet, but it's only a matter of time, so I went outside and collected a couple more green peppers and admired the last roses. I sure hope those David Austin roses make it through the winter - my Abraham Darby is still hanging on gamely, with one flower full-blown and 3 more buds left to open. The Winchester Cathedral I got is behaving a bit weirdly, though - it's supposed to be white, and although it did produce a few white roses when I first got it (it was an end-season clearance), the ones since then have been dark pink. Go figure. Unfortunately, the scent isn't that nice, so if this one doesn't do too well I won't be heartbroken.

Thomas continues to explore You Tube, and a few days ago he discovered Super Mario. This is a played game that someone must have saved and uploaded. Why would anyone DO this? You can't participate, and even if you might want to save it if you got a memorably high score, why would anyone else want to watch it? I think I've found the explanation. This is a match made in heaven for Thomas - it's just nonstop movement and sound effects, which is all he wants from games. He has no concept of trying to WIN; he just want to see and hear what's on the screen. So we just hear nonstop "Ping! Chingching! Whoopee!! TaDa!" coming from the computer as he watches this thing unfold. Unfortunately, judging from the progress bar at the bottom of the screen, the recorded game must go on for at least 2 hours; we get fed up with it after about 10 minutes and throw Thomas off, but he just serenely starts it all over again the next chance he gets. I think it might be time for earphones.

Meanwhile, James has discovered the theme song for "Pinky and the Brain", and plays the opening credits over and over. I suppose it's the strong beat that attracts him, and maybe the male voices singing, because he does prefer low voices to high. But I suspect that he sees himself as The Brain (and Thomas as Pinky).

Monday, September 25, 2006

If the trumpet give an uncertain sound

I read the Camp Allen statement, and the dismayed reactions of Matt Kennedy and Chris Johnson and many others. Then came the clarification in an interview with Bishop Iker. I read that, then I went back and read the original statement again. And while others find more to hope for the longer they parse these statements, I feel more dissatisfied than ever. I'm starting to feel about these Windsor Bishops the way Charles II felt about Prince George of Denmark: "I've tried him drunk and I've tried him sober, and there is nothing in him."

Well before Bishop Iker gave his clarifying interview, the blogs were buzzing with arguments over whether this was a weak sell-out or a canny manoeuvre. Those who thought the latter were busily hunting through the entrails of the CA statement for favourable auguries. Many found refuge in the "audience" to which it was directed - other bishops. Bishops don't speak the same language as the rest of us, apparently; in their world, it is the height of daring to express oneself in language as prolix ("We understand ourselves to be catholic bishops within the Anglican Communion..." - what's wrong with "We are"? Why use 5 words when you can use 2? And everyone already knows that they're bishops - they kindly announced it in the preceding sentence) as it is timid (oh, just pick any phrase at random: "We recognize that many congregations within The Episcopal Church need a safe space within which to live out the integrity of their faith in compliance with the Windsor Report." That's not aiming particularly high, as far as lifetime ambitions go.) I know the King James Version of the Bible was produced by committee, but it's bad strategy to count on getting a miracle twice in the same place; THIS is more typical of what you get when a bunch of Anglicans have to produce a statement. There's even a touch of inadvertent humour in the statement that they intend "to offer a faithful and dynamic witness" - "dynamism" is about the last thing that I expect to see emanating from this source.

It isn't just the bad writing, though I have found that Orwell's statement, "The great enemy of clear language is insincerity" (Politics and the English Language) is seldom wrong. The depressing thing is that the bishops involved don't seem to see anything wrong with playing these silly word games. Bishop Iker is an honourable man, but in his interview he doesn't seem to realize that "an opportunity for some bishops to stand up and be counted as Windsor bishops" and getting "(t)wenty-one bishops who occupy a wide variety of positions on the questions before us, [to agree] to four plainly-stated points" just isn't that big a deal anymore. Where is the big picture?

The Americans look even shabbier when made to stand next to the Global South primates. Read their statement. It's perfectly understandable. No need for specialists to explain that this is couched in some unusual "Global South"-speak, and an interpreter will be along shortly to tell us what it all means. Everyone knows what this means - we can read it for ourselves. It is full of active verbs and straightforward sentences - the words of men who know what they think and are used to doing things.

"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself to the battle?"

In a battle, a commander stands up high and looks over the entire field. The Windsor Bishops are still stubbornly looking at the ground immediately in front of their feet, not at the big field. They are General George McClellan, forever pleading for more time, more men, more supplies, more of everything, in preparation for the perfect moment that never comes. The conservatives wanted a General Sherman or a Grant or a Lee - not because they want lots of death and destruction, but because they want to GET somewhere. They want to be led OUT of the Wilderness, not sit around in it polishing their excuses and admiring the decorum of it all.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Standing at the latter day

This article is causing a little stir about the march of dhimmitude in the UK.
A multi-faith cemetery will have all its graves aligned with Mecca, despite Christian burials traditionally facing east. CHRIS BIRKLE finds out how Christians and Muslims feel about the controversial council decision

In today's secular society you could be forgiven for not knowing which direction Christian graves face.

Ancient tradition shows they should look east in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus Christ.

But all headstones at the new £2.5m High Wood Cemetery in Bulwell will be plotted to face north-east, in line with Islamic faith.
It's worth noting that this is not being done to comply with the demands of Muslims; the spokesman interviewed is quite reasonable that Christians should be buried in whatever direction is meaningful to them. But this is happening more and more; it's just easier to follow the Muslim rules, because they're the only ones who might conceivably make trouble about it.

This reminds me, however, of a book I read some time ago - "Edie" by George Plimpton. It's the biography of a young society girl named Edie Sedgwick from an old, old family in Massachusetts, who was caught up in and destroyed by the drugs and thrills culture of the '60s. The book starts off with a description of her family's burial plot in Stockbridge, MA.
In one corner is the family's burial place; it's called the Sedgwick Pie. The Pie is rather handsome. In the center Judge Theodore Sedgwick, the first of the Stockbridge Sedgwicks and a great-great-great-grandfather of Edie's and of mine, is buried under his tombstone, a high rising obelisk, and his wife Pamela is beside him. They are like the king and queen on a chessboard, and all around them like a pie are more modest stones, put in layers, back and round in a circle. The descendants of Judge Sedgwick, from generation unto generation, are all buried with their heads facing out and their feet pointing in toward their ancestor. The legend is that on Judgment Day when they arise and face the Judge, they will have to see no one but Sedgwicks.

The Global South and ECUSA

A great deal to read this week, from Pope Benedict quoting Manuel II Paleologus, to the meetings of Windsor/Network bishops in Houston and of Global South primates in Kigali.

First of all, the opening paragraphs of the Kigali statement dealt with:
1) massacres in Rwanda
2) massacres in Sudan
3) war in Burundi, Uganda and Congo
and it finished with discussions of:
4) poverty eradication, HIV/AIDS, peace building and church planting
5) theological formation
6) economics
7) conflict with Islam

I think it's embarrassing that people carrying these burdens should have to devote time and attention to the problems of the pampered decadents of North America. Typically, when the General Convention finished in Columbus, revisionists were angrily complaining that their opponents would only talk about "the sex thing", and were ignoring all the breathtaking achievements (the the MDG) that dominated the meeting. But now it's their turn to ignore everything else these Primates are concerned about, in favour of the one issue where they can have the starring role.

The Africans delivered a tough, uncompromising statement, and I expect the vibrations are only starting. AFter a trumpet blast like that, one would expect to see horses and chariots immediately begin to move. So it was disappointing to read such a tepid conclusion from the bishops in Houston. I wonder if they were a little dismayed at being roughly hauled to their feet and told to march? There is often a sneaking hope that somehow all this unpleasantness will prove to be unnecessary, and the path of virtue will also be smooth and comfortable. Such flinching has never paid off before, so I can't see why anyone supposed it will now, but hope springs eternal in the hearts of old men who don't want to leave their cozy chairs.

The revisionists are predictably outraged by the GS statement - see The Episcopal Majority for a typically incandescent reaction. They are quite representative of the revisionist side (even down to the self-flattery of their name), and seems to have developed a full-blown case of Akinola Derangement Syndrome (ADS). I think there were 19 Primates at the conference, but you'd never know it by reading the hysterical reaction. They even confer on him the status of a territory all by himself: "The Akinola/Global South alliance". I've heard of the "Hitler/Stalin Pact" but this is the equivalent of the "Roosevelt/France Defense Treaty". In fact, it's interesting to notice that this statement only speaks once of the "Global South" tout seul, unless quoting a document that uses that term; everywhere else, it is paired with Archbishop Akinola's name: "the Rt. Reverend Peter Akinola and his colleagues from the Global South"; "The Akinola/Global South alliance"; "the Akinola/Global South document"; "the Akinola-aligned primates"; "Archbishop Akinola and the Global South"; "Archbishop Akinola and the primates of the Global South". As I said once before, Akinola has truly become ECUSA's bête noire.

By the end of the piece, the writer has discarded even the pretence that there is anyone at all in Africa except Archbishop Akinola:
First, we must dispense with any notion that there can be some accommodation with Archbishop Akinola over the matters which divide us. He cannot be dissuaded personally, and all such Communion-wide instruments to adjudicate the dispute are now of no use whatsoever. The archbishop has simply created his own Anglicanism and announced it to the rest of us. By his edict, the remainder of Anglicans must either sign on or not.

Second, for those who do not wish to be a part of Archbishop Akinola’s new Anglicanism but still remain loyal to, and convinced of, the efficacy of the traditional Anglican way, we must now find a way to join together.

Archbishop Akinola has now thrown down the gauntlet. He has created his Anglicanism. We must now come together in ours.


But it is a habit of decayed leftism to think it terms of conspiracies and superhuman bogeymen. Here, Archbishop Akinola is protrayed as a sort of sinister Nazgul, swooping down upon the defenceless lambs of ECUSA and crunching their bones as he spreads a pall of despair.

The whine about "boundary encroachments" is raised once again. Yes, that was supposed to stop. But it only started because of an emergency situation. The emergency has not been resolved, so the reaction to it is still there. It would be like trying to re-establish order in the wake of a plague in a community. There might have been a lot of unauthorized people illegally practising medicine because the doctors were dead or swamped, and sick people were desperate for someone who might be able to help them. Naturally, the authorities would want to stop that sort of unqualified medical treatment. But it would be pretty stupid to insist on stopping that while doing nothing to stop the plague. Of course people are going to turn to unauthorized channels for relief, if there's no hope anywhere else.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Third tricyrtis


The third variety of tricyrtis opened at last - it's pale lavender, nearly white, with purple spots. I think it's called "Lightning Strike", but I lost the marker with the name.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Trying out the camera

Dean and I had our 20th wedding anniversary this summer! I gave him a new barbecue, and he gave me a digital camera; these are presents that both of us can benefit from, but it looks like I'm going to be the one doing all the photographing, just as he's the one who does all the barbecuing. I'm trying to figure out the camera, and thought I'd try uploading a few pictures. Getting the size right is a bit of a problem, but when I have time I'll read the whole manual properly and figure out how to scale down the pixels a bit - it's at the highest setting right now. Dean wants very high definition for when we photograph his maps, so I'm going to leave it like this for now, and just try to mess around with the pictures once they've been downloaded. It'll be easier when the camera is set to do everything from the start, though.


Here are some pictures of the beautiful Tricyrtis. I have 3 different varieties growing right now; this is the first one I ever planted, Tricyrtis Hirta. It's about 3 years old, and is about 4 ft. high now. It grows very upright, and the flowers just began opening last week; they'll continue until a hard frost. There's another variety very like this, but it has flowers without speckles, and it's not really as nice-looking, so when mine died, I didn't bother replacing it.


Next is Tricyrtis 'Gilt Edge'. You can see that the leaves have pale gold edges; the flowers are similar to the first one, but a bit brighter - more pink. This is the one that used to be in the backyard, but two years ago I planted it too close to a big hosta, and it ended up being completely smothered by it; I don't think it ever got the sun, and never had a flower. This spring I moved it to the front, and it's going wild! They spread by stolons, though they're said to be non-invasive. I think I might divide it in the spring and give a bit away.


Right beside it, close to the ground, is a new one I planted this year, with pale blond-green leaves. The flowers haven't opened yet, but they're also very pale; I think they like end up being light lavender. I'll have to wait until they open to see if they have spots. This one grows just the way Diane Benson described Tricyrtis:
All summer long a well-behaved clump of statuesque, arching stems grace the garden with a lithe Oriental effect. Pointed, ovular, dark green leaves clasp the stem in an out-pouring horizontol fashion difficult to describe, but great looking. In early September, senses are heightened when from the leaf axils on top of the stems, hundreds of little spotted flowers looking for all the world like orchids appear....Architectural, enchanting, and extremely reliable all at once--this plant is a treasure.

Another one bites the dust

Interesting story in today's Ottawa Citizen, about a piece of local history. Reuben Traveller, a cabin boy who served on board Nelson's ship, the Victory, at the Battle of Trafalgar, is buried across the river in St. James Anglican Church Cemetery in Gatineau. The article has a lot of interesting information about Traveller's life, and about the historical importance of the cemetery, which dates back to 1823. One short paragraph caught my attention:
The Anglican diocese of Ottawa says it appears it has no choice but to sell the St. James Church, built in 1901, along with the cemetery that dates back to 1823.
Traveller's grave, you see, is for sale. And while "there may be some takers on the cemetery", there's no mention of comparable interest in the church. There are no quotes from any representative of the diocese - perhaps the selling off of church property isn't something they really want to discuss in public. But an historian and archivist, Michel Prevost, is quoted, saying rather innocently:
"The cemetery is one of the most significant historic sites in Gatineau and Ottawa," Mr. Prevost said. "Wright is a great figure in Quebec and Canadian history. It is too big to expect the people who attend the church to pay for it."
Especially as "the people who attend the church" appear to be nobody.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I don't think this is what Mrs. Schori had in mind

"I am fond of reminding people," Jefferts Schori added, "that without chaos there would have been no opportunity for creation."

Chaos we have in my house. Yesterday, Dean and I had this conversation:

Dean: There's a yellow stain on the wall.
Me: Uhhh...maybe...
Dean: No. It can't be. It's too high, even for Thomas. And for James, it would be impossible.
Me: Maybe it was you.
Dean: No.
Me: Well, what is it?
Dean: It feels very slick.

James had emptied an aerosol can of Pam cooking spray on the wall, on the fridge, everywhere. Fortunately, not on the floor, or we'd be skating through the kitchen. But I keep finding patches of it that I have to wipe up, and as it has no smell, it's not easy to find.

Also, our computer desk fell apart. It lasted 4 years, only because it was too heavy (with the computer on it) for James to drag it out onto the deck to play with it. However, he did tend to hit and kick it when the computer wouldn't behave, so finally it gave up the ghost. I prefer to get real wood furniture when possible, because it's stronger, but when it comes to computer furniture you're pretty well stuck with the modern stuff, which is only Ikea-style pressboard. As I was carrying the tattered bits of board outside for garbage pickup, Dean asked me what type of wood it was made of. I said it was the rare South African Bogus Tree.

Now the computer is sitting on a yellow-topped chrome kitchen table I picked up at an auction a few years ago. This is much stronger, but even when it eventually gives out, at least I only paid $12 for it, so I can let it go without much regret.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Mountain laboured...

...and brought forth a mouse. It looks like that big meeting in New York between the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative and members of the warring factions of the Episcopal Church came to nothing. The reviews have been pretty listless, too. Susan Russell scoffs that SHE was never scared - it's just the conservatives who were insisting that "the sky is falling". She's the second one to use the Chicken Little analogy - Bishop Mathes of San Diego did it last week. In earlier days (when people still took Christianity seriously) they might have said "It's the end of the world", but I guess nursery stories are appropriate, since Episcopalian liberalism is now well-advanced in senility and second childhood.

Conservatives aren't any more impressed than liberals by the tepid ACNS press statement, or the Archbishop of Canterbury's reply. Meanwhile, accusations of heresy and schism are flying about on both sides. It's starting to remind me of the scene in 'Pride and Prejudice' where Mrs. Bennet is desperately trying to salvage Mr. Collins's rejected marriage proposal to Elizabeth, with the poor old ABC playing the part of Mr. Bennet.

"Oh! Your Grace, you are wanted immediately, we are all in an uproar. You must come and make The Network submit to 815, for The Network vows they will not accept 815's primacy, and if you do not make haste 815 will change its mind and not accept them!"

Archbishop Williams raised his eyes from his book as she entered, and fixed them on her face with a calm unconcern which was not in the least altered by her communication.

"I have not the pleasure of understanding you,'' said he, when she had finished her speech. "Of what are you talking?''

"Of The Network and ECUSA. The Network declares that they are out of communion with ECUSA, and ECUSA begins to say that it is out of communion with the Network!"

"And what am I to do on the occasion? -- It seems an hopeless business."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ugly quilts I have known

I did NOT make this quilt.

It ended up on my hands. Several years ago, I'd bought a box of blankets at an auction, and found this at the bottom. It dates from the 1970s - I could tell, because the whole top was made of polyester knit fabric. Yes, that is BROWN polyester throughout, except for 4 blocks at the extreme left, where they must have run out of the original colour and used a darker brown. The back was made of cheap flannel, and it was tied at intervals with pink Phentex. It's supposed to be a "Fan" pattern, but the maker was too stupid to put a contrasting colour at the base of each fan, so the shape is lost - instead, it looks like a broken-back "Drunkard's Path" pattern.

I didn't know what to do with this...thing. You can't just throw away a perfectly good quilt, even one as ugly as this one. Wear it out? Impossible. This kind of heavy, suit-weight polyester would never wear out - this was an indestructible, iron quilt. I finally hit on a solution, and may God forgive me.

That was the year the Red River flooded in Manitoba, and in Ottawa the schools were collecting relief supplies to send out west. I donated this quilt to the Red River Relief Drive. To this day, I sometimes imagine what must have been the reaction of the poor person who'd lost everything, and was given this depressing brown monstrosity. It would have been enough to push me right over the edge - I'd have probably gone right out and hanged myself.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blogging is light

Because the computer is In The Shop, as we say here in Canada. Maybe they say it in the U.S. too, but it sounds English to me. I took it in to get a new cd-rom drive configured (I'd physically installed it, but the computer just wouldn't recognize it), and I was told it would take 36 hours. Five days later, I got it back, only to find that not only is the cd-rom drive still not functioning, somehow my dvd drive has also apparently disappeared from the list of hardware. So now I have nothing; oh, but the computer was cleaned, so the dust is gone. So back it goes today, and it better not take another 5 days to fix this. Meanwhile, I've had to resurrect our ancient Compaq, with Windows 98 on it, which leaves me able to read online but not much else. Hopefully this little contretemps will resolve itself soon.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

End of the summer

Thomas has discovered YouTube. It's not surprising that HE's the one to find out about it; he's got an uncanny aptitude for computers, and many times has somehow managed to fix things on the computer when Dean and I have given up. I think that, being autistic, when something goes wrong, he doesn't see it as "broken" the way we do - we tend to just shut our minds off at that point and figure it's time to call in an expert. He just thinks, "It's working in a different way," and follows this along until he works out a way of going around the problem. Before you know it, it's working again.

Anyway, I've seen YouTube, through links on other sites, but I had no idea it was as vast as it is. Thomas has found out that you can watch Disney movies on it - that surprises me a little, since Disney is notorious for protecting their properties, but maybe this is a temporary thing and they'll crack down on it eventually. Anyway, typically for Thomas, he's not using this opportunity to watch new movies - he just wants to watch the OLD ones we've already got on video. So it's been 'Beauty and the Beast' since Friday, and he's also discovered a lot of songs in different languages, which are just fascinating.

Meanwhile, school starts day after tomorrow, so I have to get all their stuff ironed and labelled (yes, names on clothes STILL!). James has his own way of demonstrating that he knows what's going on - he's taken to waking up every 2 hours at night. Last night it started at 11:00, and he wasn't finally asleep until 1:30 AM. Dean had to wake me up for mass this morning.

I wasn't the only one dragging, though. It wasn't a very big congregation, to begin with - people stayed home perhaps because it's raining, the dregs of Hurricane Ernesto, I suppose, though the wind is very cold. Usually we get warm, tropical winds when these hurricanes make it up here, but this time the wind is from the north. Anyway, we got to the end of the mass, and after communion everyone sits for a minute or so in quiet reflection before Father blesses us and dismisses us. This time, one minute stretched into two, three... Meanwhile, I was convinced I could smell something burning, so I kept looking around, trying to find a candle that might be guttering or worse still, setting the wall on fire, so I didn't notice just how long this silence was going on. I finally looked back to the sanctuary, and realized that Father had fallen asleep in his chair! After a good five minutes, it seemed that a LOT of people had to clear their throats, and he finally came out of his doze and everything continued as usual - I'm sure he didn't even realize that he'd fallen asleep. Never seen that before.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The very best gardening book

Dirt, by Dianne Benson, is my absolute favourite, indispensible book for gardening. Benson is not a typical gardening expert. She was a designer clothier in New York, until her business closed and she and her husband Irving decided to put their energies into upgrading a styleless 1950s house on Long Island. All of her gardening advice comes from her own personal experience, and she writes in a very humorous style, with lots of stories about what went wrong and how she figured out by trial and error what would work.

Most of the plants in my garden I only discovered through her book: I already knew about daylilies and roses, but she was the one who introduced me to beautiful blue Baptisia australis (and now Dominion Seed House is offering a purply-yellow variety!), Balloon Flower, Hostas of great diversity, Japanese Blood Grass, and the beautiful Tricyrtis (Toad Lily). (The 'Gilt Edge' Toad Lily I moved from the back to the front is going wild - I moved 4 stems in the spring, and it's already thrown up 4 more!) Long Island is Zone 7, but I was able to adapt her advice to my Zone 5 location, and by dint of avoiding the tropical plants she likes so much, I was able to come up with a good strong perennial garden.

My favourite quote from her book comes right near the beginning, and is perfectly illustrative of her no-nonsense practicality:
If your tendencies are toward cross-pollination or expertly having a hybrid named after you, then put down this book. Furthermore, my version of gardening most certainly does not include starting anything from an infinitesimal seed. A big proponent of what you can actually see, touch, and smell, I champion nurseries and catalogs to buy all the bountiful ingredients to create your garden image. Artists no longer mix their paint from minerals, they go out and buy them--sculptors don't sink into the quarry to hack their own stone. Why should we gardeners feel obligated to the revered seed method of starting everything from scratch to create our pictures?
Thank goodness! I remember painfully growing Shasta daisies from seed one year; it took 2 years before I got a single flower! Plus, it's now impossible for me to have any plants or pots in the house, especially during the winter, because James will just gleefully dump them out and use the dirt to run his trains through. I've only finally stopped him from bringing in dirt from the outdoors, but if I'm going to obliging enough to furnish it myself, well, there's no way this is going to end except badly.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Islam and conversion

David Warren had a terrific article on Wednesday, about the forced "conversion" to Islam of those two Fox journalists. As he says, it's not that the guys were scared and did what they thought they had to do to stay alive - anyone might break under such stress. It's that they didn't seem to feel any anguish about it, or any sense that this was a line that they SHOULD NOT have crossed, even if in the end they did. There was no sturdy recanting afterwards, just a cagey sort of "not that there's anything wrong with that" attitude towards the religion that could stage such a contemptible comedy. I know some suggested that they were just playing it safe until they were out of the country, but I wonder. I half suspect that they didn't want to decisively repudiate Islam because they had a sneaking suspicion that the "conversion" might come in useful if they get in a similar tight situation, and it would pay to just keep the whole question of religious identity ambiguous.

Warren mentions the heroic Fabrizio Quattrochi, who found himself in such a situation, and instead of pleading for his life on tape, pulled off his hood and shouted "I'll show you how an Italian dies!" Mark Steyn pointed out that even at his most helpless, he was not without some autonomy. He could refuse to play their game, and he did - he totally spoiled their propaganda movie. Churchill used to tell the British that if they ended up fighting for their lives against the Germans, even at the worst, "You can always take one with you." Steyn said we should make something similar our inner resolution - "You can always spoil their film, and make sure they get nothing out of you." Actually, he was even more devious, and suggested making up a story about all the infiltrators you know in the mosque back home, just to mess with their minds. Why not? You've got nothing to lose.

Oh, the clematis again

I take back my previous harsh words about clematis. The new one I got 2 months ago came to life again, and has now grown up to about 14 inches tall; it even is sporting a new flower bud! Obviously it likes its location, and I thought it would be suitable, as the base is shaded by a big 'Striptease' hosta, which will just get bigger every year. As it seemed so happy there, I thought I'd take a chance and move that hopeless old clematis that's suffocating behind the rhubarb to a spot beside this other one - maybe they can grow together and bloom consecutively. It took a lot of digging to get the old one out - in 3 years it had developed a strong root system, and I had to break a few roots to get it out, but in the end I succeeded. It took the initial transplant pretty well, but it's been 2 weeks now, and the foliage is dying. One of the main stems partially broke when I moved it (they're so brittle). I think I'll just have to let it go, and hope that the root can settle in so it comes back in the spring. If it makes it through the winter, it should be quite happy in this new location, growing up a porch pillar at the front of the house.

Garden update

Now that September has arrived, the garden has passed its peak, but we still have a few good weeks ahead of us. The raspberries continue to produce, though the berries are not as big as they were about 2 weeks ago, when they were almost the size of my thumb. Last year, we continued getting berries right until Halloween, because of a rainy summer followed by a hot, sunny fall. This time, the weather has been reversed, and we got the best fruit at the beginning of the season.

We've got far too much kale and swiss chard (I don't think I'll bother growing them next year), and the hot peppers are producing away, while the sweet peppers are giving us a moderate yield - only a few per plant, but they're very nice all the same.

The best thing so far has been the potatoes. Last week, just for an experiment, I looked over the Chaleur potatoes, where the foliage was starting to yellow, and just hunted around to see if I could find a potato near the surface. Lo and behold, I just had to bury my fingers in the dirt, and pulled up several HUGE white potatoes! This is obviously an early variety, and I hope we don't have to dig them all up right away - I think they'll continue alright in the soil for awhile longer, until the frost comes. The purple potatoes (Russian Blue, I think they're called) are much smaller - still mostly baby potatoes. They're harder to grow, and I don't think they get that big on average anyway, but we'll give them as much time as possible. Maybe it's not quite worth all the space they take, but Dean likes these oddball varieties.

The carrots I planted between the rows aren't doing that well - not enough sun. And it's too bad, because they're those really beautiful purple carrots. The little patch away from the potatoes I used to plant a new "multicoloured" type of carrot, and they've gotten quite big. So far we've got pale peach, yellow and white carrots - there's supposed to be a pink type in there also, but I haven't found it yet. We'll have to dig those up soon; potatoes can stay in the ground until frost, but carrots just get woody and end up cracking if they're not pulled in time. These are stuck in the ground really hard - we'll have to use a trowel to dig them up - perhaps because the soil has a big of a clay consistency and seems to have packed down rather hard.

The only real failure this year was the zucchini, which is odd, because they're usually the easiest thing in the world to grow. But I believe mine got a squash beetle early on, and I could never get rid of it, and it ended up withering the plants. Maybe we'll do better next year, and I'll move them back over to the Old Garden, where the soil is a bit better and they might have an easier time of it.