Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Winter Ghosts, by Kate Mosse

The Winter GhostsThe Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a short story that can be relatively entertaining. The plot, once one knows it is a ghost story, is slightly trivial: one can figure out quite easily how things will turn out. There are no surprises, neither special effects and the story doesn't have any very scary touch. It has some sort of magic aura, mystical, surrounded by some general sadness. Possibly, it is what the author wanted to transmit and achieve with this story. But this was my first ghost story so I can't really put the finger whether or not the book has failed in its intent.
It is of course set in France, as all the books I have seen so far by this author and that results in a quite detailed description of the environment, dipped in an historical context where sometimes things are a bit unclear due to the usage of some sentences written in French. I always get lost when she starts to describe the towns or the roads, maybe also because she becomes too descriptive.
I have definitely read better books, but at least, it is not too long and it flows quite quickly to not become too heavy to be digested.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to cultivate Narcissus (Daffodils) in vases

Last year I decided to run an experiment: we got and I bought a lot of blooming narcissus (daffodils) for Easter. In Sweden, it is a traditional flower used during early spring and especially under Easter time. In fact, it is called påsklilja (Easter Lilium) - there is also a different variant for Pentecost called pingstlilja (Pentecost Lilium).

Already in the past, when we got them I had tried to keep them alive, but I didn't know the technique, so they never bloomed again and I eventually thought there was no hope.
Considering that the ones I have in the garden they bloom again every year, I thought that it should be possible to do the same, but by having the bulbs in a vase, instead. I really didn't want to plant them all in the flowerbeds, since we have such chaos in the garden and it would have been a pity.

These are the steps I followed:

  1. After the flower started to wither I stopped watering
  2. I let the vase stay indoor until also all the leaves were withered
  3. I removed the bulbs from the vase and stored them in a paper bag in a dry and dark place (our basement)
  4. In early december, I took the bulbs out and plant them in the vases with some fresh soil
  5. I stored the vases in our garage: a window would provide light and they would be protected from the major cold, although still in a colder environment than indoor
  6. Last week, in the end of march, I went and take the vases out of the garage
  7. I started to water the vases and let them be indoor

The only problem that I haven't figured out how to solve, is that the blooming is very short. Maybe the passage from the garage to indoor has been too quick (that is the temperature indoor is too high for them), I thought that supplying more water would do it, but it doesn't seem helping out.
I guess I will experiment a bit more and check the situation for next year!

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