After a disastrous 30-month drought, it's a joy to see a green spring. This tiny (1") anemone is just one of the thousands that are popping up in the lush grass in our upper meadow, where the bluebonnets will be putting on a show in a couple of weeks. Ancient and medieval herbalists used anemones to treat a variety of ills. Nicholas Culpeper (died 1649) writes:
The body being bathed with the decoction of the leaves cures the leprosy: the leaves being stamped and the juice snuffed up the nose purgeth the head mightily; so doth the root, being chewed in the mouth, for it procureth much spitting and bringeth away many watery and phlegmatic humours, and is therefore excellent for the lethargy.... Being made into an ointment and the eyelids annointed with it, it helps inflammation of the eyes. (This interesting paragraph is quoted in Mrs. Grieve's MODERN HERBAL.)
Personally, I think the anemone is good for the eyes just as it is: a very pretty thing to look at on a bright spring morning.
Writing notes. I've been working hard on MOURNING GLORIA (China's 2011 adventure). The book has seriously suffered from interruptions: the winter trip to New Mexico, the SCN conference, a couple of galleys and copyedits, and the usual life stuff. I'm at 76,000 words right now, about 6,000-8,000 words shy of a full book. But there's more story work to do. Translation: China hasn't told me how this mystery is going to be resolved. I know whodunnit, but getting to that resolution is going to be a bit of a trick. I have faith in China, however. She's pulled it out before, she'll do it again. (See the Nabokov quote below: sums up my feeling exactly.)
Book notes. Somebody asked which books are coming when, this year. That's a good question, because there are four. HOLLY BLUES on April 6; THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE CUCUMBER TREE on July 6; AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS (a memoir of the year 2008, published by the University of Texas Press) at the end of August; and THE TALE OF OAT CAKE CRAG (#7 in the 8-book series, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter) on Sept. 7. Whew. I think I have more creative urgency than I have good sense. I should space these projects out better. But please do let your libraries know about these titles so they can order. And I promise that next year will not be so crowded.
Gardening notes. The potatoes are up, a few tomato plants are in--both these tender nightshades will have to be covered against frost on Saturday and Sunday nights, if the weather gurus are correct. The first planting of peas is up, looking good; the second planting is just emerging. Five rows of snap beans went in yesterday. Pole beans will go in today. Don't think I'll bother with sweet corn this year, but I'm eating carrots, spinach, and kale from last fall's plantings. I love being able to build supper around what comes out of the garden.
Fiber stuff. Knitting socks, mostly, in the late evenings, when my fingers will still function without a brain attached. Thought I had a photo to share of my "Olympic socks" (knitted during the you-know-what) but I can't find it at the moment. Later.
Reading note. The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.--Vladimir Nabokov