Garden update

Today…

Two new leaves in one of the hardy geranium cuttings. It’s made it! 🙂

First flowers bloomed in the new viola. Violet and yellow beauties 🙂

Moved the last three yellow begonias and the Dianthus from flower bed to tubs. The snails have been busy butchering them 🙁

The white mustard has flowered beautifully. It was nearly dead in January; now it’s dense and getting whiter all the time 🙂

A rose I’ve been trying to revive/keep-alive for at least 3 years, produced its first bud in many years. It’s a beautiful light pink bud. Rewarding me for the effort, clearly 🙂

Earlier…

Moved all the orange and one yellow begonia from flower bed to one big pot. Two of them were near death, all were suffering. One still might not survive. Damned slugs, snails and earwigs!

The petunias and bidens in the window basket produced their first flowers. Bidens are pretty yellow, petunias surprised with a Burgundy red/pink with veins 🙂

The geraniums are blooming big time! All of them—7 surviving from last year and 8 from this. Loads of beautiful red flowers everywhere 🙂

The three campanulas are all nicely settled in, blooming and growing. Hardy, self-seeding, and beautiful blue and violet flowers. They’re amongst my favourite plants this year.

The lobelias in the other window basket are like one huge (South Indian politician sized) garland of blue and violet.

After mowing the lawn every two weeks, I haven’t mowed it in 4 weeks now. It’s still now growing. We really need some good rain 🙁

Not just gardening

Yesterday I struggled for a half a day with a work problem. Couldn’t find a decent, acceptable solution. A beautiful solution came to mind later in the evening, sometime between playing with the boys in the backyard and working on the flower bed in the front yard. I implemented and tested it today.

There’s another work issue I’ve been struggling with for over a month. Discovered an elegant solution to this one today, again while working on the front yard flower beds in the evening. Thought it through a bit more in the shower. And wrote down a brief summary while lying on the sofa after dinner.

It’s hard work, gardening. My hands, back, legs are hurting. Arms have scratches from rose thorns, and fingers feel dirty even after a shower and nail trimming.

But the flower beds will look good, come summer. And I discovered elegant solutions to two hard problems in two evenings. The hard work may be worth it.

This weekend

Learnt to use the WordPress.com API with Retrofit. Stumbled over various undocumented quirks of the API. Nearly achieved what I’d started off to do.

Finished (re)reading my favourite Frederik Backman book: My grandmother sends her regards and apologises. I wish I could live in that house in the kingdom of almost awake.

Named one of the flavours of the new app ‘Elsa’. The other flavour is named ‘Granny’, but I might change it to ‘Wurse’.

Dug and relaid the stone tiles in the middle section of the backyard. Weeded the full upper flower bed from end to end. Aireated the rear lawn – one fork pitch at a time!

5+ back breaking, knee stiffening, hand cutting hours in the garden. I could barely move my arms in the shower afterwards.

Rewarded myself by watching a bit of the old sweetheart movie, You’ve got mail.

Now, convinced by Elsa, I’m reading my first JK Rowling book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Bon Nuit!

A five check mark day

Five check mark day - ran, gardened, slept, drank...

It’s been a long time since I had one of these. 2 months lost to injury, 2 before that lost to over training, over work, and lots of anxiety.

I slept well last night. Woke up and solved a cube in bed. Then walked around singing aloud. Did 8 and a bit pull-ups. Finished reading about Quentin Cassidy’s latest race. Ran; down to the river, across to Shalford and back, and up the hill; in the heat. Did a bunch of chores around the house. Did 5 pull-ups. Spent a few hours gardening. Spoke to parents. Drank a lot of liquid (not counting milk, tea and coffee).

It was a good day. Fully deserved those 5 check marks.

Should’ve saved that Magnum ice cream bar for today.

They live!

We have a lot of lovely rose plants in our backyard. The flower beds in the front are largely empty. In early November, Paul and I planted a few rose cuttings from the back yard roses in the front yard flower beds. He advised me there was very low likelihood that any of them will survive or take root.

I read somewhere that roses like acidic soil; mixing coffee grounds in the soil around them is good for them. So I’ve been doing that occasionally.

Today when I went to distribute some coffee grounds around the roses, I noticed a few fresh leaves sprouting out of a few of those cuttings.

They’re alive! They may even take root! We may have successfully added new plants (without buying them) to the yard!

I’m happy :)

Me, here, now.

Gardening

After neglecting the garden for 5+ years, I finally started getting my hands dirty this year. It’s been a surprising delight. The flowers are blooming. No plants have died yet. And the weeds are more under control than any time last year. All this for a couple of weekends’ work, and 5-10 mins every morning or evening. My highlight achievement must be saving a few plants from near death—the purple petunias, the value pack bogonias and the medium-sized marigold—and seeing them flourish.

I am really enjoying the work in the garden—probably too much according to R. There must be some truth in what Cal Newport said—the joy of creating physical things with our own hands.

Running

I’ve been running well. I like my current running form, and the times have been reflecting the improvement. I ran my Park Run PB earlier at Woking—22:42. I ran the London marathon earlier in just under 4 hours—3:58:44. This is the first year where I have run at least 100 km every month. It’s also the first year when I’ve run at least once every week. I plan to keep the momentum going through rest of the year.

Reading

Reading has been a continuing theme from last few years. I haven’t read as many fiction books this year as non-fiction. Just haven’t found too many of ones I really want to read. Amitava Ghosh released his new book, Gun Island, so I polished that off in less than a day. But nothing much else.

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction though. Quite a few are based around self-improvement and productivity— Make time, GTD for teens, Digital minimalism, Messy, Range, Sprint, Turn the ship around

I’ve read some books from the running, swimming, cycling, hiking world, but again not as many as I would’ve liked. Goater’s Art of running faster gave some good tips, and Scott Jurek’s North was full of inspiration.

I’ve started listing the books, and notes from some of them on this site.

Head & heart

Parents were planning to visit UK this year. They’ve cancelled. I’m sad.

I stopped meditating regularly months ago. I still meditate occasionally, but without the app there isn’t much to guide me through session after session. Most of the time it is just noticing a breath (tip from Make Time).

The year, mentally, has been a roller coaster. I haven’t really touched the depths of depression like I did around October last year, but I haven’t had many periods of consistent happiness either. I have a feeling it’s all very fragile. Or is it brittle?

Finished Todo.txt for Android

I’m ending the second phase of active development for Todo.txt for Android. All core functionality works sufficiently well for my own use. Dark mode is half baked, so have moved it to the backlog for the next phase, whenever that happens.

Not doing much active development on extensions at the moment.

Next up

Next up is starting a new project, or finding a new role. Either way, it’ll be a time of flux and vulnerability. Tread kindly, por favor!

Continue reading Me, here, now.