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Wednesday, 3 April 2013
pussy willows
Topic: The weekly flower report!

There are no flowers. A couple little snowdrops maybe, a few frost bitten crocuses, but nothing more.

Long ago when I was in high school I took music and singing. I did my conservatory exams for both theory and vocals.  After the first year you are supposed to focus on a voice style that best suits you.  The woman who did my test said I had a light pleasant mezzo suited to folk music.  For my second year tests I did a french art song phonetically, a Simon and Garfunkel song, one other and a Gordon Lightfoot song "Pussy willows Cattails"  and for some reason the words of the song never left me.  They got stuck in my head.  So did the notes. I don't know why.  Maybe it's because the song was about something I already loved pussy willows and cattails and warm damp forests coming to life in the spring.

Pussy willows, Cattails, soft winds and roses
Rain pools in the woodland Water to my knees.
Shivering, quivering, the warm breath of spring
Pussy willow, Cattails, soft winds and rose.

This spring has been mostly winter.  Spring is out there waiting, because the pussy willows are out.  They are always the first thing of spring.  Next is skunk cabbage, but it isn't as romantic as a pussy willow. In fact the skunk cabbage stinks like rotten meat, and it makes enough heat that it melts the snow around it. So pussy willows are always the first sign of spring. 

So here are two watercolor sketches of pussy willows.  Above is worked in gouache and transparent watercolor.  The one below is a quick sketch in gouache.

I just wanted to catch the colors of the branch and the numerous colors in the furry catkins. This is very unfinished -it barely qualifies as "started" but it has what I wanted.  Now I can do a bigger painting of pussy willow branches and maybe when the painting is done real spring will be here.

Posted by lincatz at 10:08 AM EDT
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Thursday, 10 July 2008
Flower Power Part Two
Topic: The weekly flower report!


I spent the morning taking pictures.  Here they are!  my garden is doing quite well.  As i have mentioned before; I guess you could call me a green witch; plants and flowers love me, they row for me, they want me to notice them.  This is good for veggies and flowers, not so good for bindweeds and crabgrass.

There are no titles, descriptions of captions yet, just pictures.  My lilies are doing fine, in spite of a few red lily beetles. I'm not going to dig them all up and kill them just because of a few beetles, I'll simply pick them off as i see them. They aren't a pest to anything other than lilies and picking them is the best way to control them.

And that's all for today.  Maybe tomorrow I will have more pictures, maybe of clothes I have designed and made.

Posted by lincatz at 10:51 AM EDT
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Monday, 14 May 2007

Mood:  lyrical
Now Playing: Amy Winehouse
Topic: The weekly flower report!

Hi!  Yesterday was Mother's day so we made the circuit of both mothers.  My mom got a nice glass candle candle holder set, (she's really into candles and things) and Dave's mom got some plants.  I needed to divide a couple day lilies so she got a bunch of heritage lilies and a couple hybrids.  i also planted the last of my pansies at her place.

Dave and I went for a nice walk through the forest at that park of Union street withe the name I can't spell.  There are several glacial age eskers and the typical flora found in these formations.  At one time the entire waterloo region would have been either forested eskers and sandy meadows.  It's trillium time and there were clusters of small white one, small pink ones, a few scattered red and some of the giant white trilliums.  We also saw several species of Jack in the pulpits, including a few of the red and green striped miniatures and one red giant.  There were may apples, but not yet in flower.  areas were carpeted in bloodroot, which makes a lovely red dye, and the red juice is an effective mosquito repellent.  There were jewel weed seedlings everywhere.  One of the eskers was rimmed with wild ginger.  Wild ginger is only very distantly related to the cooking spice, ginger.  The wild version smells and tastes like spicy ginger and makes a nice old fashioned candy.  The rhizomes, which are just under the surface of the dirt, are scrubbed clean, cut into small pieces, and boiled in brown sugar syrup.  When they are cool and dry they are quite tasty.  the cat-briers were just unfurling. The only fungus we found were artist's fungus and various brackets/hoof fungi.  Oh yes, and puffballs, plenty of old dried up puffballs.

There are public notices that Periwinkles are now considered an invasive and dangerous plant that threatens the forest.  For a while it seemed like that one patch of periwinkle would spread through the whole forest.  They've also declared the Garlic Mustard and dangerous invader, and it's easy to see why.  large portions of the waterloo side of the forest are now blanketed in garlic more trilliums, no Jack in the Pulpit, no under-story to the forest except garlic mustard.  One hiker through before us was a mustard murderer because there were yanked out plants strewn across the path.  It smelled nice, sort of onion and garlic.  Too bad the plant doesn't taste anything like it smells.  They are working hard to eradicate both of theses obnoxious pest plants.

Next week Dave wants to go to the Cressman's wood's area.  The official name is "Homer Watson Park" after the artist who painted pictures of it.  It's changed so much from when I was a kid, large areas are now fenced off, the spring is capped (That's to one with the old legends surrounding it) and the old rail line in gone.  There are still some unique eskers and glacial formations covered in unique flora, so it's almost worth a visit.  Not far from that forest is the true gem of the city, Hidden Valley.  It's drumlins, eskers, and carolinian meadows, all in one small area.  There's a large wetland with deer, muskrats, beavers...the fungal flora is the most diverse in the region, with a dizzying number of Amanitas including Caesar's amanita, panthers, fly agarics, grissettes and many, many lookalikes.  We found a couple green Death Caps once,  They are tall, elegant...almost picture perfect, and completely deadly.  There were no white destroying angels.    We once found some Morels, and then never again.  There is no finer fungal food than a meal of Morels. 

That's all for today.  I have things I need to do, and they aren't getting done with me just siting here!

Posted by lincatz at 11:39 AM EDT
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Friday, 20 April 2007

Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: Old hippy music
Topic: The weekly flower report!

It was actually springy yesterday!  YAY!  Do you want to know how cold it's been?  The coltsfoot's are flowering.  In the middle of APRIL!  these things normally flower in the middle of march.  There are snowdrops blooming.  Snowdrops are usually finished by april 7.  There have yet to be any sweet fragrant violets blooming.  This is their peak time for blooming, normally the twentieth of april smell like an explosion in a flower factory from all the violets.  So far nothing.  The tips of tree branches are only now beginning to blush with growth.  The bud began to swell, then stopped.  Some buds froze and fell off.  I'm sure everything will catch up, but still...coltsfoot in april.  Wow.

Very young Coltsfoot leaves make a nice cough drop when they are boiled, then the resulting elixir i added to boiling brown sugar syrup and then dropped on wax paper when at the semi stiff ball stage.  They store well in a cool dark place.  Remember those old dark brown vick's cough drops?  Those were made from pennyroyal and coltsfoot.  In case you wanted to know... sharing a bit of the old witch herbal knowledge.

I mention this because my hubby has a cold, and I was looking for coltsfoot leaves.  All i could find are flowers.

I went to play with the felting machine.  I dunno.  I think I'm better off spending the money on accessories for my new machine.  It's not like the needle felter will go anywhere anytime soon. When I was at the mall I also got two pairs of flip flops, satin with beading, one in goldish beige and one in navy with turquoise.  I bought one pair in 7 because that's all they had and the other in eight because that's all they had.  I actually take seven and a half, so I compromised.  I would have bough a nine if that's all they had because I wanted them.  I also went downtown kitchener.  Noisy. Ugly. Dirty. Cool retro shops. Oh well, one out of four.

Speaking of summer footwear, I see crocs in all the stores.  As the weather warms up, I see people with the evil crocs on their feet.  Crocs are the footwear of satan.  Here's another reason not to wear crocs: Crocs cause Static electricity!  Okay, here's the best reason to not wear crocs.  They are f**ing ugly!

And that's all for today.  I have a ton of things to do and sitting here isn't getting them done.

Posted by lincatz at 10:01 AM EDT
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Friday, 23 March 2007

Topic: The weekly flower report!

Good Morning!  I', much better thanks for asking.  What's that?  You prefer the piccy of dark jedi George?  Okay, then next time i have a migraine it's back to George Costanza!  That was a wowser of a headache for a while.  Did i mention I hate headaches?  I do.  For a while I was getting a migraine every ten days it seemed...After I switched my diet to wheat free gluten free the headaches went way down in frequency and intensity.  I wonder if they were connected?

When I opened the door to get the morning newspaper I heard something sounded like tweet-tweet-twitter-tweet.  There's only one bird that has that song, and when the sun is shining and the snow is melting that little song can only mean one thing...the robins have returned.  Farewell to winter...hello to spring!

Much of the snow is melted and/or melting.  Three ice storms worth of crap has migrated to the surface of the uck...I'd say snow and ice but its' mostly just uck--ice pellets, dirt, branches...If you look at the very edges of the snow melt you might be able to see spring tail ice fleas.  These little insects live on the edges of melting snow, it's their dropping and dead bodies that make snow-melt edges that atrocious black.  Then they go to where ever it is that seasonal insects go when it's not their season. In the forest there's a large group of fungi, primarily ascomycetes -that inhabit the fringes of melting snowbanks.  They reach their peak diversity in the western mountains, around here we have bullnoses and the like.  While these are close relatives of the good old Morel, they are all inedible and a few are toxic.  Several of theses snowbank false morel contain MMH, which is a well know rocket fuel.  I doubt rocket fuel is healthy for human consumption!

My garden is now exposed.  There are many sprouting spring onions, I'll be able to have spring onion with everything this year.  I need to go to the seed store and get my early spring seeds, such as peas, lettuces, and spinach.  Remember I planted some spinach last fall, hoping to see it sprout in the spring?  Guess what?  It's sprouts ahoy!  We have spinach seedlings!  Thee cold spring weather is what gives us those tight curly crispy leaves.  In a few weeks I'll have fresh spinach, then I'll make some chicken Florentine, or just enjoy the sweet leaves raw.

There are little horns of green poking out of the soil, There are day lilies, tulips, crocii -- I don't have daffodils because I find the scent of them nauseating.  Really!  To me daffodils don't smell pretty --they smell like urine!

Late today I need to go to my garden shed and dig out my seed starting stuff.  I need to get the peat pellets and seeds from Ontario seed on King Street.  As I said, it's like having a seed catalogue in walking distance.  I also want to get more lilies and day lilies.  Vesey's seeds has an alluring assortment of hardy lilies and day lilies in a bunch of amazing colours.  I want more lilies in the front flower gardens.  I want to be known as the home with the lilies.  I had so much luck with the marigold last year I'm going to start more.  I also had good luck with coleus, those brilliant coloured foliage plants that love growing in shade.  I also need to go to Warren Greenhouses on Strange street and see if their pansies are ready to be sold.  They said last week of March/first week of April weather permitting.

I learned a new emoticon!  It's heavy metal headbanger! \m/ \m/  I was quite disappointed Dan didn't do the head banger thing during his high school graduation.  So were several of the teachers.  Dan thought it might be disrespectful and the one teacher said a kid graduating with honors and an Ontario Scholar designation is allowed to headbang.  If he had a lower average...then not so much.I know there are parents who would be horrified if their kid did the headbanger thing while getting their high school diploma, but thankfully I don't have a pole up my ass. So \m/\m/ away!

What else?  Not much, as I did have a headache yesterday.  Oh yes!  That shirt I was thinking about!  I cut it out, sewed it together and adjusted the fit.  Now I have to piece together the scraps so I can face the neck edges and the button/buttonhole areas.  Then it just hemming and buttons and I'm done.  I'm thinking rhinestone's quite luxurious looking and it needs luxury buttons.  It has a real nice vintage/oriental look.  made a slightly raised and darted petal collar, something I saw on a few of my vintage patterns. And they also had rhinestone buttons.  This gives me an excuse to go to the sewing store in Conestoga Mall.  They have plenty of luxury rhinestone buttons there.

I've been reading the advice for Project Runway hopefuls (no.  I won't tell you where I'm getting it.  And BPR has only a handful of what I'm getting.)  --and it's quite informative.  Almost everyone has the same major points to make.  When one person says something...meh.  When ten people say the same thing...then it's something to take seriously.  It's pretty much what I was thinking...have a point of view, and identity, let the three outfits reflect the point of view, and all the pictures in the portfolio should reflect the point of view, and most importantly, be a unique individual and be one's self.  There's more, but I think that's the important stuff.  Oh yeah, all the former contestants say the same thing: you absolutely must know how to sew, sketch, cut garments, sew, make patterns, sew, drape,  and sew.  All of them emphasize the sewing.  Nick's first words were: so you are thinking of auditioning.  If you can't sew, don't go.  I still can hear my cousin saying, I don't want to sew, I want to be a fashion designer!  Ryerson's website says in the first paragraph, if you don't love sewing, don't apply for fashion design.

And that's all for now.  When I have a migraine I don't do much of anything, I've learned the hard way that if I try to do things while headachy, I have to do them over again the right way the next day!

(edit: spelling errors.  grammar lapses. forgotten topic.)

Posted by lincatz at 11:00 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007 9:29 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Mood:  quizzical
Topic: The weekly flower report!

Spring has sprung here in the litter box and I have little green sprouting things everywhere! The seeds I planted outside are now showing signs of their forst true leaves, as opposed to the little green cotyledons that are first sprouted. The seeds i started inside last week are doing something amazing...thay are sprouting! Don't they know that seeds started indoors are supposed to sit in their little peat pots for at least two weeks before actually mustering up the strength to even consider sprouting? Then they sprout their cotyledons then expire. No...they don't do that all the time. But sprouting in only fifve days is quite unusual. Today I'll be going to Ontario Seed to get more peat pellets so I can start even more seeds. I'm aiming for planting out the first week of June, so I have a couple weeks leeway in starting my seeds. Most don't need much more than six weeks to grow a good sized seedling.

The lawn is now a rich green, embroidered with deep purple sweet violets. When the sun shines warm on the grass I can smell their scent. Nothing smells like the small wild sweet violets that flower in the cool afternoons of April. And some people think they are weeds! Can you believe that? The sweetest flower of April is not a weed! And anyone who thinks it is needs a serious re-adjustment of their gardening priorities!

The snowdrops are almost finished, they dotted the ground for several weeks, poking their heads from the leaf litter and garbage in the city. I'm not the only one who noticed that this has been the filthiest trashiest winter ever. The tall forheads of city hall are looking for ways to discourage litter and encourage people to clean up when they see litter, even if they didn't toss the litter. I have a perfect idea for taming litter, especially on King Street, the city's main thouroughfare...they are called "Garbage Cans" and by putting them on every corner people have a place for their litter other than the gutter. Amazing invention, the trash can!

The crocuses are far too fast. They feel the first rays of the sun, burst from their corms and within a few days, they are utterly spent from a floral point of view. It takes all their remaining strength to send up the leaves required to make new corms for next spring. If they would slow down, bloom a bit more slowly, we could enjoy their efflorescence a little longer.

The trees are near bursting! The aromatic trees such as birches, aspens and poplars are in full catkin glory now, soon they will be drooping like christmas dangles from the trees, dripping resin on the sidewalks. A few maples have opened their buds, the ones with the red buds that shoot out small black stamens, the entire effect makes the tree appear covered in small lady bugs. WHen I was a child I called them lady-bud maples...they are always the first maples to pop their buds which they do at the same times as the blossoming of the sweet violets.

It is a waning moon, but the moon is going inot a fruitful zodiac sign tomorrow. I can't plant vegetable seeds, but I can plant root crops such as carrots and onions. I found some intriguing carrot seeds. The roots are supposed to be perfectly purple! They cook up orange, so they are to be eaten raw. They are supposed to be very sweet. I
ll be planting them tomorrow after noon when the moon moves inot the next sign. My grandmother used to plant by the moon and the zodiac and she was always successful.

There are green spikes of lily-of-the-valley popping up along the garage and in the very back by the garden shed. Lily-of-the-valley is my all time favourite flower. When they are in bloom I pick as many as I can and fill all my flower vases with them and for a few days the house smells like them. One year I made my own perfume with them. The pharmacy on pine street is the only place that sells undenatured alcohol which is used in making perfume. I steeped the flowers in the alcohol for a week, allowing some to evaporate, but not all. It's a method that I'm not sharing! :-P If you want to make scented oil, extra virgin olive oil is the best, steep the flowers in the oil for two weeks in the fridge, so the oil doesn't turn rancid. You can use mineral oil, but the scent doesn't leach into the oil as well. I strained the liquid and I had a very intense lily of the valley perfume. It's difficult to find the proper alcohol, I have to ask at the counter for it and I have to tell them that I'm not going to drink it! When I say it's for extracting scent from flowers then they sell it to me, that's one of three acceptable reasons for purchase. They stopped selling it two years ago, along with a bunch of other chemicals like saltpeter and the like. Something about explosives being made with the chemicals...

I'm going to have to clean the rock garden. The rock garden is a pain because someone decided at one time to fill it with horribly invasive vinca minor and even more invasive crown vetch. I used round-up on the vetch one year, killing everything in that segment of the garden and IT STILL COMES BACK! I hate crown vetch, it would over grow everything in it's path given half a chance! And surprisingly, people who think sweet violets are a weed think crown vetch is a wonderful rock garden plant. And to make matters worse, the crown vetch sucks all the nutrients from the soil, leaving just a grey powdery sterile mess. I'm always looking for annuals that can take poor soil conditions and extreme heat for my rock garden. I've tried everything in that stupid little rock garden, and while I've had some success, sedums get boring after a while. The hens and chicks are nice, I bought three hens and now the chicks from the original three hens are filling the crevasses. I have to divide them up again this year, last year I had large hens and this year I have bunches of little chicks. I have no idea what their scientific name is, I call them what my grandmother called them. The look like fleshy green and reddish green roses.

Why are most leaves green? Becasue the green light of the sun isn't absorbed by the leaf and it's reflected back as visible green light. Better question, why is green light so useless to plants? Because they use the red light of the sun as their cues to grow, flower, set seed and either die or go into dormancy. It's quite scientific and quite interesting. Maybe I'll do some research on the life cycles of plants and why red is such and important wavelength to the life cycle of plants. It has something to do with out primitive sun producing more red light than it does now, and how primitive plants, such bryrophytesand non vascular plants evolved into the wonderful flowering vascular plants that have taken over most ecological niches. Plant evolution is very visible, easily traced and speciation is clearly defined and occurring all the time. There are no missing links in the plant kingdom. New plant species are easy to find, generas such as clarkias are evolving all the time and new species form with clock like regularity. Take THAT creationists! say the clarkias.

I've always been interested in the taxanomy of plants. I've studied taxanomy just for the heck of it, and learned much along the way. The naming of plants is quite complex, not only do you need to learn what a plant is, you must cleary define what the plant isn't. learning taxanomy is an imprtant part of learning to properly identify different plants when they are found in their natural setting. Identifying plants is important if you want either enjoy it for it's beauty...or enjoy it for lunch. Knowing what differentiates a wild onion from a death camas is important for many reasons! Knowing what makes a fern different from a trillium is interesting on many levels. Knowing why horstails are unique among growng plants is to know what kind of jungle the dinosaurs might have lived in and how differnt the forests of today are. On a smaller scale, you can say "I saw a fragrant little pink thing with the two leaves that are side by side and the flower looks sort of like a ballon...know what I mean?" Or you can look at the plant and say "I saw a fragrant little orchid growing wild, I think it's a lady's slipper," I enjoy reading science books about botany just for fun.

So that's enough for now. I should go check out the forest and swamp plants, like skunk cabbage, a memeber of the arum family; trilliums, a lily; trout lily; and another arum family member that's unique and memorable whenever it's found, good old Jack in the pulpit, a local member of a family that has many exotic species.

See y'all tomorrow!

Posted by lincatz at 10:00 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 11 May 2005

Mood:  spacey
Topic: The weekly flower report!

Today I have a busy day! I have to get all my sewing stuff together, all my pattern drafting stuff together, and then go over to my mommy's and work on my skirt patterns. I didn't get over there yesterday because they had some Important People over and needed to use the big table. I need the big table for drafting and cutting so there was no point in going over! My children will be coming over to my mommy's after school so we can go downtown and get some things from the health food store and visit a store called "The Weather" which sells rocks, stones, and dead insects, some encased in lucite and suitable for wearing as jewelery. Waterloo has some of the oddest and coolest stores!

Cool web news! Mike has updated his flame warrior page Which can be found here! I've been accused of being an "evil clown" and a "big cat" Sometimes I will take on a "bliss Ninny" persona to drive someone around the bend. A recent piece in the MIT web journals looks at netizens in a more scholarly fashion, categorizing lurkers, trolls, a couple various entities and ones they call "celebrities" Celebrities are prolific posters in a few boards and occasional posters in a other boards, use the same or similar name in all boards, and often receive a warm welcome when they post for the first time in a different board. Most have reasonably good manners, defend their positions, know when to ignore, and defend their privacy, yet are open about their life situations. Celebrities also spend months on end as lurkers, taking a break until they decide to return to the fray. It's surprisingly not difficult to become a "celebrity" I didn't realize it was happening until I posted a small comment in a newsgroup, my reputation from About meant many already knew me and they greeted me warmly! And the biggest surprise was when I went to the board sponsored by a big US news service and one of the leaders gave me a big welcome, saying, "If you are the same lindakat from prospero and usenet, then welcome! Please don't go back to lurking, we need people like you to add a touch of class to our discussions and perhaps a different perspective! And we know that you can be Mike's evil clown, we need all types here." I gave a *blush* and thanked the guy, then decided it was time to spend a little less time on-line! Seriously, it's almost too easy to become "the celebrity" and for no real reason at all! (sort of like Paris Hilton!)

I have a garden filled with sprouts! I hope y'all like onions 'cause I went a total onion binge this year...with reds and yellows and whites and bunching greens, the guys want me to plant red peppers, so I will. Dan asked for "red hot chili peppers" and I said, "sure! I like Anthony and Flea...especially in their tube socks!" Dave vetoed the red hot chili peppers.

I also have a whole bunch of tulips opening up! And down the street, the magnolia tree is in full bloom. I love to walk to it, stand under it, and breathe in its fragrance. Aaaahhh! The smell of magnolia blossoms on a warm spring breeze, is there anything better? I mean, at least until the lily-of-the-valley begins to bloom? There is no flower whose scent I love more than lily-of-the-valley. It's been my favourite since I was a child, perhaps the first flower I became aware of... I could fill all the yard with lily-of-the-valley and lay in it from the moment the blooms open until the sad day in june that they fade away to brown.

There are trilliums in the forests, while I walked yesterday I went to the edge of the forest on Margret Ave and peeked in. There is also wild ginger covering the sides of the ridges. Wild ginger rhizomes can be harvested, cleaned and boiled in sugar syrup and they taste like a spicier version of indian ginger candy. I also saw a few bloodroot blooms and a couple trout lilies. Many call trout lillies dog-tooth violets, but that's the wrong name. They aren't violets at all, but lillies and quite closely related to the trilliums. The name trout com4es from the mottled fish-like appearance of the leaves. Jack sat quietly in his green-brown pulpit. He's quite an attractive member of the Arum family, one of my favourite floral groups, the one that gives us callas, caladiums and sweet flags. The spathe and spadix form of the efflorescence is quite distinctive and very attractive in a stark, minimalist way. The calla doesn't need multiple petals to be stunningly beautiful, it only needs one. I prefer Arums over the busy petals of a composite any day!

The maples have burst into leaves, there were surprisingly few flowers on them this year. That means there will be little food for wildlife this year. I thing several years of bad weather is catching up to them. Perhaps it's for the best, after the stresses of so many hot summers, they can take a break from making so many seeds. My lavender has bounced back, there is new green growth, and last years growth is now turning woody, this means that in a few more years it will be a small shrub. I hear lavender is difficult to grow, yet I've had surprising success with the plantings in my rock garden. I normally plant different type of flowers in various shades of pale pink and pale purple, this year I will be different and plant various flowers in brilliant pink, yellow and orange.

Around the neighborhood there are little hyacinths everywhere, some subtle in their fragrance, some almost overpowering. the violets have faded, and in their place grows ground ivy, with their little purple flowers. A few wild pansies have popped up in the yard. Several years ago I planted pansies in the garden and they went wild. They no longer have the huge flowers, they are smaller, and they are mostly a deep dark velvety purple, almost black. They wee called "blackjack pansies" could I resist?

I still have no visitors showing up in my log files, which is nonsense because I received a couple comments yesterday. Thanks for telling me you are reading and visiting, especially since the log says I have had no visitors for a while. And more proof, a site I linked to thanked me for sending visitors his way!

That's all for now! I must get busy! Later!

Posted by lincatz at 10:41 AM EDT
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