Friday, May 22, 2020

A New Mural

As I walked home from work last night I saw that we're getting a new mural in West Hampstead, on the bridge over the Thameslink railroad tracks. "Through arts we rise," it looks like?  I saw someone painting this wall black the other day but I thought they were just sprucing it up -- I didn't realize the black would be a backdrop for something more colorful. Anyway, I'll show you the finished product when it's complete!

Work was uneventful. I spent the whole day weeding the fiction section. We have so many books checked out right now that we joked we should just throw all the rest away, since clearly no one wants to read them. I'm not going that far, obviously, but I'm finishing the weeding project I started last fall.

Olga fared well with the dog-walker yesterday and she's been sleeping soundly all evening and even this morning -- which is a good sign. Like a small child, she's much happier and easier to manage when she works off some energy!

When I walked her yesterday morning, I found a set of dog steps with a "free" sign on them outside someone's house. We'd talked about getting some for Olga. She normally doesn't need them (yet) but she sometimes has trouble getting up on the bed by herself after a long walk. Problem solved! I brought them home and ran the fabric cover through the washing machine. She hasn't quite got the hang of them.

Here's my newest plant resuscitation project. The Christmas cactus in the library is many years old, and it's become quite brittle. You may remember that a chunk of it broke off last fall, and I brought home the pieces and rooted them (top plant above). Well, our maintenance staff moved all the plants in the school to one location where they could easily be watered, and the other day I noticed that another chunk broke off the cactus in that transition. So now I'm rooting those pieces (bottom plant above). Assuming they survive I'll take them back to the library in the fall.

That's also assuming we reconvene for school as usual, which is a big assumption. I talked with my co-workers yesterday (via Zoom) and we're not sure what library services are going to look like in the fall. Given that we're normally a big gathering space where objects are handled by many people, we need to make some significant changes to keep everybody safe and well.

Today is my last workday of this school year. We have a few more weeks of (online) school left, but I'm going to be furloughed during that time. My co-worker will come into the library in coming weeks and work just as I have been, but it turns out we're not going to check out more books before summer break because the school doesn't want a lot of people browsing shelves and lingering on campus. So whatever people checked out in March is what they're stuck with through August!

As Dave and I had our gin & tonics in the garden yesterday evening, we heard a noisy parakeet in one of the trees overhead. It took us a long time to find it among the leaves. It blends in really well, doesn't it? I'm hearing them now, too, swooping and squawking in the early morning.


  1. We have had parakeets here in Harpenden by the river for about 10 years now. Noisy little b.....s they are too! I first saw them when out walking my previous dog......about a dozen of them flew over us. What the........I thought! They are all along the valley now.

  2. Those steps are quite the prize. The cover looks brand new. We had library steps for one of our old cats who couldn’t get onto our sleigh bed. He wouldn’t use the mahogany steps until we upholstered them. And THEN we had to work with him for a week to get him to put even one paw on the bottom step.

  3. I hope we never get ring-necked parakeets round here. They are unwelcome and unnatural invaders that upset the equilibrium of indigenous avian life. Woodpeckers, starlings and nuthatches are just three of the bird species that have been adversely affected by parakeets.But it is not their fault I suppose - it's the stupid humans who released them by accident or design in the 1970's.

  4. I checked a book out of my local library in February, and still had it when the place closed down in March. And I still have it. We're supposed to keep them -- that is, not put them in the Return chute -- until this is all over, so...I'll have this book until the end of the year. It's about the South Korean Women's ice hockey team that went to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul. I'm halfway through it. Turns out that I can't read when there's an idiot in charge of America's response to a pandemic.

  5. Strange, strange times when theoretically a library can kill you.
    Good on you for rooting that Christmas cactus.
    And in response to your question on my post- yes. That is Lon and Lis on the velvet couch and singing to each other. Aren't they beautiful?

  6. Such A Lovely Parakeet Photo - Dig The Hand Print On The Top Step - Welcome To Summer Vaca Brother Man - Stay Strong And Keep Posting Photos

    P.S. Please Slip Olga A Biscuit For Me

  7. That's a good mural to make people stop and think!
    I like the idea of dog steps. Good idea

  8. odd that whoever didn't just start at the beginning to paint but skipped most of the first word of the new mural.

  9. Such a great shot of the parakeet. I think they are beautiful. They are not wild around here, though I wouldn't mind having some of them in my trees. I hope Olga can enjoy the stairs. I got some for Pogo but he wouldn't use them. I gave them to my daughter for their little dog who does appreciate them. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  10. I'd like to get rid of the books on the shelves at the thrift store when we closed, and start fresh.
    But most of the books don't deserve to be shredded...even though they haven't sold in months. (This wouldn't be an issue if we had more room.)

    I love how you save plants!

  11. Such a good plant-whisperer. :)

  12. For me , it seems like the old brittle Christmas cacti produce the most blooms.

  13. That parakeet is quite a beauty.

  14. I love the parakeet in the tree! Good luck with the cactus. I'm betting it will thrive.

  15. Steve please tell me how you root a Christmas cactus! It is truly one of my favorite plants. My daughter Karyn took mine and I was under the impression that it was to be returned to me but so far I have not seen it other than in photos in months. I asked her to return it to me but she said that her roommate Tina fell in love with it and she thinks that they will just keep it.
    I said you know Karyn when someone gives you a Christmas gift or any kind of gift and you suggest that you will take it home and repot it even tho I have the supplies to have done so I let you take my gift from Matthew (my son) and of course Tina can have some of it but the plant is mine and I want it returned.
    I watched some YouTube videos and never got a really good idea of how to root it. I love the way that you save plants and it is just so awesome to see them get a second life.

    That Mural is going to be really awesome when it is finished and it says so much to my soul. The arts are such a wonderful way to express the things that are important. I actually miss my library. I owe a $5.00 fine and I have gone online to pay them only to be told that all fines are forgiven because of the shut downs. I did return the book along with donations to the food bank.

    I am so glad that Olga has new steps to help her get up and down on the bed. When Cisco was alive he had trouble getting up on my bed because it was so high. Most of the time I would have to help him up the steps but soon I just moved them out of my room and helped my little guy by picking him up and holding him close and then placed him on the bed. Soon it became a game with us. He would just look at me with those big brown eyes in hopes that I would pick him up which I did always.

    Oh I do love the birds. Your parakeet does indeed blend in nicely. When my daughter lived in Pasadena California I would take my coffee out to her front porch and watch the parrots that hung out in the eaves. They were so beautiful and colorful. I know that they had parakeets as well but the parrots were just gorgeous.

    Have a awesome day and enjoy your summer break... hugs to you, Dave and Olga!

  16. Steve's plant hospital. Lucky plants. I love the colors of that mural, and the parakeet in the tree is lovely.

  17. Yes that bird does blend in. I wonder if Olga will ever get the hang of those steps. And your plant rescues are an intriguing project.

  18. It's amazing how well the Ringneck blends in with your foliage. In the US Monk's parakeets are a problem, building huge nests on power poles, they're also called Quaker Parakeets. They're cute, but a pain to have around.

  19. I'm surprised we don't have a Christmas cactus. My dad had a gorgeous one & it would be very cool to get a cutting from it. However, that would probably mean getting rid of some other plant because we're out of room. Ha!

  20. Those steps look like they're meant for a smaller animal than Olga. She might do better with a single step half the height of your bed but larger in area. Just a thought.

    Once again I envy your green thumb :)

  21. Frances: Yeah, they've apparently been expanding their territory in the UK. They're an invasive species here, but at least they're pretty!

    Mitchell: Mahogany steps! Fancy! Olga isn't crazy about these either. She doesn't quite understand them.

    YP: Yeah, I know they're invasive. Apparently they're even culled under certain circumstances, maybe when the populations get too big.

    Vivian: Well, it's a good thing you've got the book for a long time, sounds like. Maybe you can finish it after the next election! (Fingers crossed!)

    Ms Moon: I was pretty sure that was them! They ARE beautiful, absolutely.

    Padre: Olga loves it when you come around with instructions to deliver an extra treat! LOL

    GZ: It's a good idea in theory, but she doesn't seem to understand them yet.

    Ellen: I know! It's a weird way to paint. Maybe they were spacing out the letters and then started from the end?

    Edna: It's really NOT good to have them flying around wild -- as YP pointed out above, they're invasive and they upset the local ecology. But we've got 'em now and I admit I enjoy seeing them. They are pretty.

    Fresca: Maybe you could have a free book giveaway, to get rid of some of the older stock that hasn't sold?

    Mary: I try!

    Red: Yes! They do! I would never have taken those cuttings if they hadn't broken off on their own.

    Robin: Isn't it? They ARE pretty even if they're noisy.

    Sharon: Hopefully! The cut pieces were without water for a while, which is why they're a bit shriveled, but they may still pull through.

    Beth: Well, that was kind of a mean trick to play with the Christmas cactus, wasn't it?! Just snip off three or four leaves, and cut the bottom leaf in half width-wise. Bury that bottom section including the leaf joint above the cut leaf. The new roots will come out of that joint. Keep it moist (but not wet) and give it a few weeks and you'll have a new plant!

    37P: I'm eager to see how the mural will look in the end.

    Catalyst: So far, she has not!

    Allison: Yeah, I know about those monk parakeets. We used to have them in Florida. These don't built visible nests -- I believe they nest in hollow trees -- but they're still a problem.

    Bug: Space is definitely a problem when it comes to plants, as we are learning!

    E: Aren't they great?

    Jenny-O: Yeah, I think they probably are meant for a smaller dog, but it seems like they should still work for her. She's not THAT big. She could just use that middle step and ignore the other two, right? Time will tell!