Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring is sprung!

Well this blog wakes up as we wake up and get busy for the new planting season. what has happened? Well the biggest is our house now has a new extra window and is letting in light into a hitherto dark and dingy room. Our terrace has been cleaned with a high pressure washer and is also looking stunning. Together with our kitchen which we had new last year the whole place is starting to become special. is it the nature of renovation projects that they are a bit miserable in the middle but turn a corner then start to look amazing almost on their own?

The garden went from struggling under the last snows which rapidly melted to a heatwave. There was barely time to hone the newly learnt pruning skills on the apple trees and grape as the latter dripped sap following its somewhat late snip. Note to self: always prune at Christmas the grape, allowing it time to heal. Spring this year seems to have been almost non existent, and even now in late April the Forsythia is just in bloom, emphasising the long and bitter winter we've suffered.

The veg growing season is under way with a vengeance, though is rather all took me by surprise. Last week was the official handover of the "Sonnenacker" which led to a flurry of my busy hands recently plopping in a load of garlic which spent the winter in my conservatory inert but regularly watered. I planted out its small cloves with several inches of green on them, then afterwards a full set of onions. Together with celeriac at home in the veg bed and carrots we should have a full Mirepoix selection for stocks and stews. Parsley I am growing as a matter of course all over this year, like salad (lettuce) we couldn't get enough of it last year. Thyme I planted in our flowerbed as well as rosemary. Sage I also have but maybe the winter ruined it.

I've sown so far garlic, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, chervil, basil, lovage, potato in the Sonnenacker and at home scorzonera, spinach, potato, garlic, lettuce and Swiss chard.

Today was exciting in that I took delivery of special seeds from Poetschke like Borlotti beans, Jerusalem artichoke (topinambur) chamomile for tea and colds, and stuff like carrot bands which sow in strips at the right distance apart.

There are lots of photos to share later so I shall publish them as and when.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Online Shakespeare Company

Right here it is. It's been gestating in my mind for a few weeks, and the article on the web about the Youtube orchestra brought it to the fore. I've also been playing with Audacity recently and wondered if it might be customised to fit the idea.

A few years ago I found this old book at my local recycling centre. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Upon opening it however I found myself wanting to grasp the plays but unable to without hearing them. At school I used to study plays like The Merchant of Venice and we used to read the parts in class taking our turns. Today as an adult of course that's not possible.

Can it be possible to record one's own voice as "dry" as possible (in sound recording terms) at home speaking snippets of Shakey's plays into a microphone, then sort of stick it all together inside a software programme like Audacity? I'm aware that the snippes are written in XML so I feel sure some database whizz could stick something together. Perhaps people might compete with each other for verious parts and then it gets downloaded as one continuous stream of play.

Just an idea to throw out there. If someone takes it up do so with my blessing but simply say I thought of it!