More Gardening

I think I may be too impatient to handle waiting for seeds to germinate.  I only put my parsley and chives in the ground on Saturday, and am already eagerly scanning the ground for signs of life.  And agonizing a little: what if nothing grows?

On Sunday I put my moonflower seeds into the ground.  Right now it looks like I planted sticks:
And I am not sure that I am going to have much more luck than that.  In retrospect, a plant that blooms at night may not have been a good choice for a place with 24-hour daylight.  I think I will have to wait until August before I can even hope to see any blooms, and by then frost will be a concern.  Also, a little bit of reading on the internets about moonflowers leads me to think that they require rather more delicate conditions and care than I can provide.  I did put my fourteen seeds in various spots around the garden, so hopefully something will stick somewhere.

Fortunately there are enough other hardier plants already out in the garden that do just fine on their own.  This lovely poppy joined the party yesterday.

Meat & Potatoes #34

This week I read Leslie Jamison's essay, "The Immortal Horizon", found in the May 2011 issue of The Believer.  Full text available online here, and highly recommended.  And I played:

  1. Bachman Turner Overdrive--You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
  2. Sea Wolf--Middle Distance Runner
  3. Neko Case--Running Out of Fools
  4. Elbow--Running to Stand Still
  5. Talking Heads--Swamp
  6. The Stranglers--Golden Brown
  7. David Bowie + Queen --Under Pressure
  8. Arcade Fire--Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
  9. Sufjan Stevens--I Walked
  10. CocoRosie--Lemonade
  11. David Sitek--With A Girl Like You
  12. Maximum Balloon + Tunde Adebimpe--Absence of Light
  13. Holly Miranda--God Damn the Sun
  14. Spoon--I Turn My Camera On
  15. Scissor Sisters--Do the Strand
  16. Of Montreal--Hydra Fancies
  17. Boston--More Than a Feeling


Green(ish) Thumb

I was genuinely shocked when I returned to Dawson last Saturday and saw how green everything was.  When I left the buds were barely out on the trees and while it was summer in my heart, it looked like we had a long time to go before Nature was going to catch up.  But I almost didn't recognize the place when I got back.

It's growing like mad out there.  Lovely poppies like these have started to appear in my yard:
And whatever this is, it's blooming in the garden:
I hadn't thought I would do much with the garden this summer.  While this is the first time that I've actually had my very own outdoors, I don't see myself as much of a gardener and figured that I'd be happy to just let things go (with my landlady keeping the worst of the jungle weed-whacked).  But then last weekend Ben put a big planter with different varieties of mint on the porch, and I figured that if I was going to have to water that, then I might as well add a couple of pots of things I like.
I couldn't find any basil, but did get lavender and oregano.  I also put the rosebush outside because it was getting in the way on the windowsill.  It doesn't look like it plans to bloom again any time soon, but the new foliage has an equally lovely colour.
These few pots sit at the top of a slippery slope.  On Monday my landlady's partner showed up and did all sorts of raking and tidying up outside.  The yard looked so much better, I started to think about clearing out the dead flower stalks from last year and other debris from the flower beds.  Today the weather was so fabulous, and I was revelling in having an actual real weekend, and just... kinda sorta... bought a few seed packets and spent a few hours outside making things prettier.
I'm not sure it shows, but this is an "after" shot.  While it is still rough around the edges, and I didn't do nearly all the weeding I could have, it is a vast improvement.  Besides clearing out last year's dead stuff and some weeding, I planted flat-leaf parsley in the garden, added a planter of chives to the collection by the door, and planted cosmos in a half-barrel at the end of the driveway.
Cosmos must be lovely, if even the seeds look this interesting.  I also have a packet of moonflower seeds soaking in a cup of water (as per the package's directions) and will put them out tomorrow.  I also spread around some mystery seeds.  Some kind of flower that bloomed in the garden last year had all kinds of seeds lurking in its dried out pods, so I planted those.  And I discovered wildlife in the garden, too:
I'm not sure who belongs to this cat, but he was awfully affectionate--if very dirty from rolling around in the dust underneath the bench.

I don't really have high hopes for anything I planted, and fully expect my attention to wander to other projects long before the growing season is over.  I will probably keep watering the porch plants, if only because it is so refreshing.  It was a hot hot day today, and getting my feet all went in the early evening was remarkably refreshing.  And Ben did say something about mint juleps and mojitos when he planted all that mint...

The best laid plans of...

After dreaming big about many lovely designer fabrics to be found on the internets, I went shopping at JoAnn.  Which was kind of a big deal, because I did have to drive over 1500 km to get there.  I had contemplated visiting Anchorage quilting shops, but too much Big City Driving would have interfered with my desire for a relaxing holiday.  So JoAnn it was, and it was fun.  I was able to get all those handy-dandy notions like elastic and thread that you can't get here in Dawson, and of course picked out some pretty fabrics.
The polka dots at the top is a light corduroy, and the other two are quilting weight cottons.  I also picked up some muslin for linings (if needed) and some sky blue cording to jazz up the polka dots (because multi-coloured polka dots are in need of jazzing up?).

After getting everything washed and ironed last Sunday, it took me until today to actually cut into something and start getting pantless.  Using a helpful copy of Sew What! Skirts, I whipped up this drawstring number:
I'm not really sure what it looks like on me--no full length mirror in my cabin--but my attempts at self portraits out in the yard look alright (except that I will have to watch out to gather the fabric evenly around the drawstring and prevent things like the weird crease seen below).
Not that it was easy to line myself up properly.
It ended up plenty big--I worked with lots of ease, figuring that too big was better than too small.  I could trim away some of the excess, but I did such a neat job of finishing my seams that I don't have the heart to do any of it over.  I am definitely happy with my craftsmanship on this one.

But it won't be work wear...  Before I started my new job on Tuesday, I had visions of myself sitting at a desk all day long, looking cute in skirts and high heels (like the blue ones at left, a treat from the delightful ShuzyQ in Anchorage).  But I only wore the heels to work once (on my second day) before my boss suggested that I dress more casually--as though I could have to "jump into a helicopter at any moment."  And he was right: besides spending two dirty days in the hangar doing inventory, on Friday one of the pilots asked me to "help" him with a power check, and we were up in the air before I could even grab my camera, never mind changing clothes if it had been necessary.  But giving up a classy work look for the occasional helicopter ride is a worthy sacrifice.  Plenty of time to wear skirts out of work, and lots of awesome Threadless tees to match.


Visuals from My Alaska Road Trip

It was a good trip through Alaska last week.  The ferry across the Yukon River wasn't in when I left on Monday, so I had to take the long way around (down to Whitehorse and then back north to the border, which adds over 1000 km to the trip)--but the effort was worth it.  Shopping in Anchorage, and visiting Seward and Homer was lovely.

View Road Trip in a larger map

I think I took fewer photographs than I sometimes have on previous trips; I had so many miles to cover that I couldn't stop on the roadsides as much as I like, and the weather was really off and on.  But it was fabulously relaxing, and wonderful to be out on the road again--especially knowing what a wonderful life I had to return to in Dawson.

Head on over to Flickr to view some snaps...
A BearOn the Tok CutoffA ViewDriving...Seward, AKMy room at the Ocean House Inn
Hot Tub!On the beachMacroLooking towards Homer SpitMailboxesRussian Old Believer Cemetery
Kachemak BayMailboxes with A ViewTransfiguration of Our Lord ChurchMeThe Matanuska GlacierFinn Scary, Stegosaur
View from the George Black Ferry


Meat & Potatoes # 33

I just returned from my Alaskan road trip yesterday, and had a hard time focusing my mind to prep for the radio show.  Too used to just flipping through songs on the car stereo, I guess.  Fortunately the Dawson City Music Festival had my back, and I was able to just flip through their handy stack of cds and find all kinds of great music by upcoming music fest performers.  I always have a great time during music fest, and this preview session (tracks two through ten) definitely got me back into my radio groove for the rest of the show--and excited for the festival.

  1. Braids--Lemonade
  2. Mr. Something Something--Only the Maker
  3. Shout Out Out Out Out--Bad Choices
  4. Timber Timbre--Woman
  5. Tanya Tagaq--Sinialuk
  6. Shotgun Jimmie--Stereo and the Stove
  7. Yukon Blonde--Wind Blows
  8. Sarah Macdougall--Across the Atlantic
  9. Chris Coole--$100
  10. Amelia Curran--Wrecking Ball
  11. Melanie--Brand New Key
  12. Janis Joplin--Summertime
  13. Jefferson Airplane--The Farm
  14. Joni Mitchell--Raised on Robbery
  15. Van Morrison--The Way Young Lovers Do
  16. Neko Case--Hold On, Hold On
  17. Fleet Foxes--Grown Ocean
  18. Monsters of Folk--Say Please
  19. The Books feat. Jose Gonzalez--Cello Song
  20. Arcade Fire--Sprawl II
  21. TV on the Radio--Second Song
  22. Grizzly Bear--Deep Blue Sea
  23. Hamilton Camp--Satisfied Mind
  24. Tim Buckley--Once I Was
  25. Roger Miller--My Uncle Used to Love Me But He Died
  26. The Rapture--Get Myself Into It
  27. Scissor Sisters--Do the Strand
  28. Paul Simon--Mother and Child Reunion


Man Cave Curtain

Ben moved into staff accom recently--it's a scuzzy little room in an Atco trailer and really is rather...  well...  it's staff accom, and there is a reason I pay a premium for my lovely little cabin.  His room didn't even come with curtains for the two windows, so I whipped one up to cover the larger one, and will take care of the other small window when I get back from Alaska next week (ROAD TRIP!!!).

The curtain is actually a three-layer sandwich: the baseball print on the outside, with an old dark blue bedsheet in the middle to help block out the light.  It's my cheater black-out curtain method, and really I need to do this for my place, too.  Even though it's only May, it is still quite bright out late at night, and the sun comes up early--and it's only going to get worse...

The baseball print was in a bag of random fabric that an acquaintance gave me when she found out that I had bought a sewing machine and didn't have any sort of "stash" at all.  It was definitely a mixed bag, but fun to pull out something I wouldn't use otherwise for a project for my young man.  It was either baseball or teddy bears, and I wouldn't want all those dirt baggers and stakers out at the compound to laugh at his drapery.


Meat & Potatoes #32

Short reading tonight--just the first few dreamy/nightmarish pages from Cormac McCarthy's Suttree--which left time for lots of music...

  1. Bryan Adams--Cuts Like a Knife
  2. Mother Mother--Hayloft
  3. The Clash--London Calling
  4. Metric--Monster Hospital
  5. Calexico--Stray
  6. Broken Social Scene--Alive in 85
  7. The Beta Band--Eclipse
  8. Devendra Banhart--Sight to Behold
  9. Tom Waits--Shore Leave
  10. Dave Rawlings Machine--I Hear Them All
  11. Barenaked Ladies--Lovers in a Dangerous Time
  12. Moxy Fruvous--Stuck in the 90s
  13. Tragically Hip--Ahead by a Century
  14. Bonnie "Prince" Billy--You Remind Me of Something (The Glory Goes)
  15. JJ Cale--Lies
  16. Creedence Clearwater Revival--Proud Mary
  17. Booker T & the MGs--Summertime
  18. Paolo Conte--Via Con Me
  19. Nina Simone--Go To Hell
  20. Neko Case--Running Out of Fools
  21. Rae Spoon--Living a Country Song
  22. Bob Dylan--Don't Think Twice It's Alright
  23. Fatboy Slim--Praise You
  24. TV on the Radio--Wolf Like Me
  25. Touch and Go--Would You Go to Bed With Me
  26. Andy Kim--Rock Me Gently
  27. Leo Sayer--You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
  28. Pablo Cruise--Love Will Find a Way
  29. Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs--Stay

Wish List

This weekend I discovered The Summer of No Pants challenge over at Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! and, while I'm not usually a jump-on-the-internet-bandwagon type, I just... had to join this.  It is hilarious to me--and also nicely timed.  Next week I start a new job, and I will not be required to wear all black all the time.  So why not celebrate with a new summer wardrobe of colourful skirts and dresses?  I may even have to buy a pretty pair of heels to celebrate getting to sit at a desk all day long!

The challenge is to sew four skirts (or dresses) in four weeks, and I'm thinking the challenge is really going to be to narrow down all the great choices out there to just four.  Four may have to be a jumping off point.  I've managed to limit myself to free patterns for the most part, largely inspired by links from Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky!, but have just gone wild picking out pretty fabrics.  If I could make it all--meaning, if money were no object--here's what I'd do...

All three dresses are spectacularly unflattering--the top two being shapeless fashion-hipped mistakes purchased right here in Dawson.  The third was bought on-line (and on sale) from J. Crew.  All can easily go under the rotary cutter without the slightest bit of worry.  I'd like to try out this ruffle technique on the J. Crew dress, keeping the style of this petticoat skirt in mind.  It's the right kind of fabric and god knows there's enough of it.

And in honour of joining The Summer of No Pants, today I wore my LBD--one of the dresses in my closet that I do like--paired with Converse sneaks when it was warm during the afternoon, and then tights and gum boots to keep me warm in the radio station.  Here's a backyard self-portrait:

Look at that green grass!

    Bravo! Fund Facts for Filmsters

    One final bit of film fest writing, this one published for reals in one of our local papers, What's Up Yukon.  Check it out here, and then check out Bravo! FACT on YouTube.



    I remember feeling an actual, genuine physical pang in my chest when I saw this post on Jane Brocket's blog.  Those crocuses--outside, in full bloom, in February--seemed like the most remarkable and beautiful thing imaginable.  On that particular day in Dawson, the temperature was hovering around -20, and I'm sure we were all walking around saying how balmy it was outside, because -20 is so much warmer than -35 or -40.  Everything here was under a deep layer of snow--but somewhere else in the world it was warm enough for flowers to be blooming out of doors!  I realize that there are many, many places in the world with quite mild and even quite hot weather in February, but seeing those crocuses... just... gave me that pang.

    Fortunately, I think it is finally time to say that it's spring in the Yukon, and we've got crocuses of our own in bloom.

    These lovelies grow wild on the trails around town--particularly out on Crocus Bluff, where I found these one day last week.

    I particularly liked the little fuzzy ones, not yet in full bloom.  Amazing texture.

    An interior view...

    There is actually a lot of colour in the woods these days, even if nothing is actually green yet.  These bright rosehips from last year are all over the place, and the newest buds have the same brilliant colour.

    The birch trees provide great colour and texture, too.

    While not much is actually green out there, the ice on the river broke last Saturday afternoon and the bergs on the riverside are melting quickly.  This photograph is from earlier in the week, and today on my walk there was less than half the amount of ice on the far shore.

    Ben bought us a little grill in Whitehorse.  He's scheming to get me to cook more dinners, I guess (and I do usually do better than hotdogs--it was a craving!).  I think it's a good excuse to stand around in the sunshine.

    And if it isn't green enough outside yet, this lovely pot of miniature roses--Ben thought they would travel better from Whitehorse than cut flowers--is brightening things up indoors.