Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I’ve finished the ribbing on Cathy’s second sock.

Still no yarn ordered for the dinosaurs, but I have made real headway in straightening out our financial affairs – reconciling old statements for little-used savings accounts, that sort of thing – in the wake of our friend’s misfortune. I found myself wondering yesterday how I used to manage to have a job and run a house with six people and a cat in it (never very well, but we stayed afloat) and now I can’t even balance a bank statement and do some ironing on the same day.

The answer is easy and obvious: two things are different now. One is the siren call of the Internet. I didn’t write a blog or solve on-line jigsaw puzzles in those days. And the other is lunch. My husband has never learned to graze, and is faintly incredulous when I tell him there are people who can do it. Lunch takes up a great deal of every day.

His sister became a great-grandmother yesterday. (She still gets very tired, but is in general doing well.) The child is a little boy named James, somewhere in Essex. Today is the birthday of James Miles the Younger, Alexander and Ketki’s son. I amused myself while doing the washing-up yesterday by trying to work out the relationship between the two little Jameses. My mother was very good at that sort of thing. They are second cousins once removed, I think. The calculation is complicated by the fact that their ages suggest that they’re in the same generation, but they’re not. Alexander and the new baby’s grandmother are first cousins.

Mary Lou, I meant to thank you for that reference a couple of days ago to orach balancing the acidity of sorrel. How providential! My sorrel is doing fine, but I went back to the source at the monthly Strathmore and the Glens farmers’ market in Blairgowrie last Saturday on my way to my garden, and there was no more. I’ve put in seeds but they haven’t come up yet. I want lots more.

Anonymous, you said the same day that life would be easier if people developed recipes for weeds. I think, in effect, that’s what we’ve done. I am making an effort to reduce the amount of hard work in the garden by extending the amount that is permanently planted: sorrel and Good King Henry and perennial herbs. I’ve put in a row of autumn-fruiting raspberries, on the Fishwife’s suggestion. Seven of the ten are doing fine and it’s far too soon to despair of the other three.

The weather is cold and blowy. I don’t know when I’ll make my next move northward. Maybe I can persuade my husband that we should go up together next week.

7 comments:

  1. You are right about the second cousins once removed. Growing up in the South, it was something I learned very well. Of course, on the New England side of the family, my grandmother has a first cousin once removed who is her (very) late father's great-niece but is 6 years older than my grandmother. And a few of my father's first cousins are very near to me in age - one a few years younger.

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  2. What is Good King Henry? Edible weed? I need more of those.

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  3. Speaking of edible weeds-- when my dad was a young man growing up in Southern California in the 1950s he remembers that bushes of greens (collard, mustard, types of lettuces) used to grow wild along the sides of the freeways (before they were expanded to mega-super-highways) and that people regularly used to stop on the shoulders and collect them for eating.

    You can't do that anymore as cities have sprung up all around the freeways and the orange groves and dairy farms that used to ring the city I grew up in are gone.... but my dad mentioned it to me the other day and it was an interesting image to think about in one's mind...

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  4. Anonymous7:15 PM

    It is interesting, the way we are gradually spreading out the generations. I was born when my mother was 21, my oldest was born when I was 27, and his oldest was born when he and his wife were 32. So I don't actually expect to see great-grandchildren myself.... at 61, I've already lived longer than either my mother or grandmother, and while I'd love to see Tessa's children it doesn't seem likely.

    My son has an interesting situation, though.... his wife was an only child until she was 21, when her mother remarried and had a son. Gordon took this little guy to the park one day, where another person asked,"Is he your first?" "No. Actually, he's my brother-in-law!"

    Barbara M.

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  5. Anonymous7:15 PM

    It is interesting, the way we are gradually spreading out the generations. I was born when my mother was 21, my oldest was born when I was 27, and his oldest was born when he and his wife were 32. So I don't actually expect to see great-grandchildren myself.... at 61, I've already lived longer than either my mother or grandmother, and while I'd love to see Tessa's children it doesn't seem likely.

    My son has an interesting situation, though.... his wife was an only child until she was 21, when her mother remarried and had a son. Gordon took this little guy to the park one day, where another person asked,"Is he your first?" "No. Actually, he's my brother-in-law!"

    Barbara M.

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  6. How very wicked you make online jigsaw puzzles sound! I understand that there are poker games online,too.
    Many years ago, I was invited to a working supper by a colleague who packed many enterprises into her life. I watched and learned as she served up a pork roast, complete with apple-sauce, stuffing and gravy from a foil freezer container. There were just the two of them, but would have a large joint and then freeze down their own ready meals for working days. This was followed by bread and butter pudding on the same principle. We have long used this method to enable us to have proper, home-cooked food but with minimal hassle.

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  7. =Tamar4:09 AM

    Spreading out the generations is more noticeable now but it isn't new, it's just that there are fewer children filling in the years in between. Back in the 1950s there was a boy in my fifth-grade class (ages 11-12) whose 13-year-old uncle was in the same class, having been held back one year. He had quite a respectable mustache.

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