Friday, April 27, 2012

W is for Watson and X is for Xeriscape

Yesterday somehow escaped before I realized I had not done my daily post.  My apologies.  To make up for it, here is a two-fer.

Reading: Before going into my post about Larry Watson, I have a confession.  I love Montana and many things related to it (I would say all things related to it but there are some really messed up things there, too.).  My mom's entire family moved there when I was young and we spent many summers with my grandparents in the western part of the state.  I love the mountains, I love the air, the water, the rocks.  I know the wildflowers and trees of that part of the world better than those in my home state.  And of course I love to visit my grandparents (Underpants Grandma, in case you were wondering).  I also like to read about Montana. 

I am not sure where I picked up Larry Watson's novel Montana 1948 but the slim volume is marked as a library book.  I have bought many a discarded library book but this one puzzles me a bit since it is not from the county I live in.  That matters not.  This little novel packs a punch and I have read it multiple times.  There is a powerful sense of place and the characters are people you know, or think you know.  Our narrator, David, starts with this line: "From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others from my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them..." And this story is one that made in indelible mark in my mind, too.  David's father is the sheriff in the small town in eastern Montana where they live, his uncle is a charming war hero and respected doctor.  Marie Little Soldier, David's family's housekeeper, becomes ill but refuses to let the doctor treat her.  What is revealed when the sheriff investigates why Marie refuses treatment rocks the foundation of this family and the events that unfold challenge their values, beliefs and ideals.  From the back cover,"It is a tale of love and courage, of power abused and of the terrible choice between family loyalty and justice."  I don't want to give away too much but once you pick up this book, be prepared to read it in my sitting.

Justice is just as good.  It takes place before the events in Montana 1948 with the same family, when Wesley and Frank (the sheriff and doctor in 1948) are in high school, college and young adulthood, and gives more background to those characters, but it is not necessary to read Justice before 1948.  In fact, I think it is even better to read it after 1948, knowing what happens to them in 1948, watching for the clues that led to the events in 1948.  The sense of place is again so strong that you may find yourself longing for small towns and wide open spaces, even if you are not a Montana-phile, like me.

Weeding:  X is for Xeriscape.  Xeriscaping is planting to use less water.  I picked this word because a) it started with X, b) the concept of using less water is very appealing to me, and c) I thought it would motivate me to learn more about it.  As with many of my plans, this one is not fully thought-out or executed well.  I didn't really do any research on it.  But I did realize that I have unintentionally been xeriscaping.  I don't pick plants because they are drought-resistant, but since I am a poor water-er, the perennials that survive in my yard are apparently drought-resistant.  I am xeriscaping by default, by laziness, and by luck.  If you want to know more about this, I would recommend checking out sources other than me.  Sorry.  Some garden related blogs I read are: Walnuts and Pears by Kate who consulted on my yard/garden about 10 years ago, and Gone Gardening by Sherry, a blog I discovered as part of the A-Z Challenge (actually I think Sherry visited my blog first and then I checked out hers and started following). 

Until we read and weed (and blog) again,

1 comment:

Kathleen Valentine said...

"Xeriscaping" -- great word! I'll have to learn more about that!

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