Some might say the title words are synonyms. It does rain frequently from October through May and sometimes beyond here in the Pacific Northwet. But even the rainy days are punctuated with warm, sunny ones and gentle breezes. That would be last week. Today: rain from the Willamette Valley up to Olympia. And like almost nowhere else in North America:


So it’s a day to hangout, have another cuppa coffee, observe, and muse. Here goes:

1. Walter is a large, lunk of a Golden Retriever, who introduced himself to us at the dog park several months ago. He’s a people-oriented dog (unlike our black lab, Maya, who is treat oriented). Walter’s way of greeting me is to stand close and lean hard against my leg. That’s usually fine. But when we met up with him this morning, he was on the way home from his walk and quite wet and muddy. His lean made the back of my left pant leg soggy from mid-thigh to below the knee. Oh well.

2. Answer to desert dwellers: “Yep, but it’s a warm wet.”

3. For the first time in months I’m seriously inclined toward visually creative efforts and writing — SoulCollage, image-play, blogging. Maybe partly inspired by the weekend Mt Tabor Art Walk and an interesting image in the morning newspaper of a clock tower split in half in the Italian earthquake.

4. UPS is coming today with the parts I needed last week (when it was sunny and dry) to finish the drip irrigation system for my raised kitchen garden beds (drip tape, filter, and fittings). Over the years, I have found DripWorks in California’s Central Valley to be a reliable source of drip irrigation advice and equipment at reasonable prices and with good service and prompt shipping. Guess the installation will wait a few days until the sun comes back out.

5. Rain is a good excuse to delay for another day hauling the concrete rubble that is piled near the driveway to a concrete recycler — the rubble is the result of removing a pond from our backyard as I described before.

6. Any gardening done today will be planning and gazing out the sunroom window. Or planting seeds in the basement. This year I started using soil blocks for the first time, and so far I’m very happy with the results. I use a hand blocking machine — available from Johnny’s Seeds and other sources. I’ve found Johnny’s to be another reliable source of garden seeds and tools. The formula I use for the soilless mix is somewhat different from the one in the YouTube video linked above — I use 1 part each coconut fiber, vermiculite, and compost with a bit of lime added. I discovered a good source of those materials at Concentrates, Inc. in suburban Portland. Great prices and friendly folks, huge stock, and an on-line price list.

8. Ran into this very interesting recipe for tamarind-dal with asparagus on another of my favorite blogs, The Bitten Word. Might have to make a trip to the produce market for asparagus and red onions — I have almost all the rest of the ingredients on hand. Zach and Clay do nice reviews of recipes published in a bunch of cooking magazines.

OK, time to emerge from my basement den, get that cup of coffee, check on the rain, and gaze at the blooming peas and the fast-growing artichoke plants. Thanks for reading.

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