Friday, April 30, 2010

just something funny

Haiku are easy...
But sometimes they don't make sense...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hail Hail go away

Go away hail and take the dang snow with ya!

Cold frames... they are soooooo on my list.

So this is part of my daughter's playground. The fort section that I had enclosed in curtains, way back when she could actually stand up under the smaller section. We had a table and small butterfly chairs so they could picnic on snacks I packed in a basket. There were neighbors just a few doors down that had 2 daughters. The youngest was a few months older than my daughter and the oldest was 3 years older.

The girls would drag a wagon loaded with supplies I packed up to the park. Cell phone, blanket, picnic basket, drinks, kites, bubble wands, sunscreen.. all set. They would meet up with several other kids also intent on trying to fly kites on a windless day.

The dog would be soooo excited to go with that he would bounce around making it difficult to get a leash on him. He wasn't exactly protection... he was there to clean up anything spilled by the girls. A job he does very diligently.

So it snowed a bit today. Nothing stuck but it was enough to send me scrambling to drag in trays of tender seedlings and cover the tomatillos.

The chilly weather was perfect for beef barley stew and to do some baking. Double chocolate cherry cake, cinnamon bread, herbed garlic rolls and apple crisp. My house smells amazing. And what did I have for dinner....undressed salad. I'm trying to be good. Actually I have to be. Although my blood sugar levels are somewhat decent I have been dizzy as all get out for the last few days.

I've been to the doctor about it several times in the past... and as usual they saw my blood sugar was ok and blew it off. The only way I can explain the dizzy spells is imagine spinning like crazy on a chair and then also getting up super fast. That's what it is like... the spins with the sensation of almost blacking out. It hits out of nowhere like an Acme piano. Scary when it happens in the kitchen. It has made me topple out of the shower a few times taking the curtain and sending everything flying. Iron levels are fine too.

Anyways... no salt, no sugars, no cholesterol, low fat, no processed food diet maybe bland and somewhat torturous but I'd rather deal with that than almost taking a header into the stove while making the family dinner.

Oh yeah... whoooooole lotta fiber when you eliminate basically almost everything except select veggies.

Water with crushed mint... an odd thing I have been enjoying. Coffee was one of the first things nixed off the list... I miss you oh lovely steamy cup of joy.

Time for sleep... right after I finish this cup of tea.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vermicomposting and Cocoons

The bins are active and although they are screwing like mad, I was unable to snap any worm porn at this moment. There are tons and tons of cocoons and I need to harvest very soon before the hatching starts. There are anywhere from 1 to 4 baby earthworms per cocoon. Major pain in the ass to harvest when they do hatch out. I usually end up screening the material as best as I can, putting it into a sterlite container for 2 months, and then pull out the juvenile worms.

In the meantime, the worms are rolling off cocoons every few days. Several of the darker ones above most likely will hatch out any day now. I was going to screen a bin or 2 today, but the weather had alternate plans. Tornado warnings, sheets of hail, rain and lightening kinda put the damper on those plans.

The cocoons when they are freshly rolled off a worm are white and have the consistency of .. well... a booger. They turn yellow and get more firm with age.

I need to sort my bins ASAP, otherwise the current inhabitants will start feeling crowded and try to make a mass exodus out of the bin. That happened one year when I had moved the bins to the porch. I was planning on screening the next day, but overnight they bolted. I didn't have the lids secured on as I was letting the bins air out. So I woke up to probably a thousand plus worms all over the porch and some of the happiest, fattest robins on the planet. They tried so hard to clean up every last one that they couldn't fly. They didn't even want to hop away. After a few hours and recovering from food coma, they spent the day in the hops encased aspen (which they then covered in enough bird poo to make it look really gross.)

It's not that I have some sort of love for worms, I have the bins because the vermicompost is wonderful stuff. I originally started the bins to add to my other assortment of cultured live foods for my fish. I would hand feed the neighbor's oscars the adult worms. The oscars would slurp the worms out of your hands. They got more than a little crazy about the live food offerings, and eventually any time they saw your hands they would attack your fingers. It didn't hurt, but boy did it scare the bejeezus outta me more than a few times. Those fish can have quite the personality.

Some people have the stackable tray vermicomposting systems. To each their own. It is all pretty basic, you really only run into trouble when you over think things. Worms have very primitive "brains". There is no personality, no higher thought. If they are bolting out of the bin it is because there is a problem with the environment, not because you have a invertebrate revolution.

I vermicompost (VC) in rubbermaid bins. The big ones. Some have holes for ventilation, some haven't. I start a bin by tossing in a few handfuls of bedding (shredded news paper, straw, dried grass clippings, etc.) I toss in a few scoops of dirt from the garden and several scoops of VC along with the wiggly workers. I might toss in food right away.. veggie scraps, root balls from weeds, weeds, coffee grounds, tea bags (not the plastic ones and staples removed), etc. Then more bedding on top. Mist with a sprayer that has rainwater or unchlorinated water so that it is damp, but not soggy. Pop the top on and put the bin in a cool location. The key is to make sure the contents do not heat up (hot composting), they need grit to digest food, they need moisture as they breathe through their skin, darkness (15 minutes in the sun is enough to give them a lethal sunburn), they prefer mild temperatures, oxygen and food.

I fill a bin or two in the fall with leaves, iris trimmings, root ball of pulled up tomatoes and squash as well as those plants entirely and stuffed a bin pretty full. Added the grit and VC... covered it and moved it into the garage where it sat all winter. I put in about 2 or 3 pounds of bedrun worms (bedrun means mixed stages of maturity, from juvenile to breeding age), and as many cocoons as I fished out of other bins that were being harvested for VC. It is ready to be harvested now. The population has definately doubled at the very least. I have pulled from that bin 3 times already to make starter cultures for friends.

I would check that bin maybe once a month. The other bins I alternate feeding the kitchen scraps. I toss the scraps in a plastic coffee can and keep it in the freezer. If there are any fruit flies, the freeze will wipe them out. When the can is full, I thaw it and dump it into the bins. If the food is particularly wet, I will toss in newspaper shreds to absorb the liquid. If the bin contents get too wet, I pop off the lid and cover it with cheap gauze and bungee cord it in place. That way the moisture evaporates, but the bin does not get invaded by ants, gnats or the like.

The quality of the casts depends on what the worms are fed. If you offer a variety, you are going to have good quality casts.

About 20% to 25% VC mixed into the soil of container plants and you are good to go. Slow release fertilizer, high in beneficial microbes and natural plant hormones. You can top dress around plants.. you can't every burn plants with VC.

VC tea.. just a few scoops into a watering can of rainwater and then gently stir it around. You can use it as a foliar drench, it is a mild fertilizer.. and it is great stuff if you are transplanting.

It is pretty balanced, so while you are able to fertilize your plants, you don't have to worry about accidently over fertilizing, or too much nitrogen issues (where fruiting plants, like tomatoes, if they get too much nitrogen then they produce a lot of leaves but fail to flower or set fruit.)

There is no 1 ultimate soil amendment. Variety is always best. This just happens to be my favorite amendment as I know what it is made of, that it is a quality compost, and I can make it at home year round for next to nothing.

If you have poultry... the worms are actually a good calcium source.

Just don't get ripped off when you get the worms. I got mine from my compost heap. Check around well if you are going to purchase any. Not all Eisenia Foetida are actually EF's as less than 1% of all the people selling worms can even kinda identify species. They are in actuality usually guessing, or going off what someone else told them what they thought they were. If you find mature worms (they have the band around them which is what actually rolls off to be a cocoon) that are under 4 inches, pigmented and hanging around in a cold compost heap... they will work for a VC bin just fine. Just collect enough of them and a bit of the compost they were found in to start your bin.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Flowering Chives and Randy Robins

The chives have been in this pathetic pot for several years. They don't seem to mind that the only attention they get is an infrequent watering and maybe some soil to top it off every other year. It has self seeded a few other locations in the yard too. Once the flowers open, they will be broken up and tossed in our salads. I still will have a ton left for seed.

So the robins have raided my worm bins. Free meals and apparently building supplies. These may well be either the laziest or most brilliant birds yet. The nest is only 5 feet off the ground in a pine tree that is literally inches from one of my gardens. They wait for me to turn the soil and snatch up any worms I unearth. Then they pop back into the nest and wait for more... or they dive bomb me. It's more of an obnoxious fly by than dive bombing.

They have been at it all day, and it seems they have had success... or at least they now have their first egg. They really should be less brazen. I mean if they were to pull these antics in a yard with a real cat or dog, there would be serious issues. My dog don't hunt. Neither does the cat... well, her thing is inanimate objects.

Anyways, the nest is actually really pretty. She may be the Martha Stewart of the robin society. She probably thinks her spouse is a daring stud as he hops within a few feet of the scary human. Now if they would just stop raiding the worm bin... garden worms are a free for all, but plucking my wiggly workers out of the bin is just going too far. The escapees from the bin they can have (and they have made quick work out of several hundred that bolted one morning.)

Speaking of which, I need to make a screen to harvest some vermicompost. The bin is showing signs of an impending mass exodus. Eggs everywhere and very high population makes them want to look for less crowded locations.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

copper and ketchup

I am really not sure how wise this is, but it was an experiment out of boredom.

Heinz ketchup... aka how to take the tarnish off a copper pot without trying. Oh yes... wipe on... wait 10 seconds... wash off. I do suggest using a pair of gloves or rubber spatula otherwise after a few seconds you do realize the zippy feeling is an electric charge. Very mild... but still a bit annoying.

I swear I will do just about anything to put off weeding. Battling the bindweed and thistles while they are just evil little sprouts right now. And birdhouse gourds my husband chucked into the garden and tilled under last fall... they are sprouting by the billions.

On the upside... I seem to have gotten a rather weedy lot of tomatillos. I hope their flavor is good as they are growing like mad, already transplanted outdoors (oh please no snow... nooooo snow...) and are setting flowers.

Many more decade old seeds are sprouting from a stash I misplaced long ago. Vermicompost is good for that. The nitrogen, gibberellins, auxins, and other plant hormones plus the other nutrients in viable vermicompost works wonders for waking up old seed that may otherwise not have the energy reserves to germinate.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oh no... wife aggro

So every time the neighbor's wife drives him crazy, he talks my husband into disc golfing. That's about as hard as talking an addict into doing something 1 more time. His wife drives him crazy on a regular basis. Knowing the woman.. I can say a bakery or dandruff convention is less flaky than she is.
He has now put himself in jeopardy of WOA (wrath of Anne). I need to get out... I NEED OUT NOW!! I need a change of scenery. Bali... Bali sounds good. Mellow people... no ching ching ching of freakin' disc golf baskets to be heard. Gimme a hand of bananas.. being attacked by the monkeys in Ubud might just be the diversion I need right now.
My husband was supposed to fence up one of my gardens this weekend. Actually it was supposed to have been done a few weekends ago, and he promised this weekend, but the neighbor called... I figured yesterday, no biggie... he will do it Sunday. He played poker until the wee hours of the night, so I let him sleep in until 11am.
Well.. the dog pranced through the garden trying to protect us from the fence dwellers... and destroyed my cold crops.
Now, gardening in CO is not like say... almost anywhere else. Arid, super sweet soil, even the water clinks coming out of the tap. So when you compost like mad, and amend the soil religiously, one watering because of a dry spell and the ph just goes to crap. I would have an easier time making ice cubes in hell.
So as I kiss another crop goodbye and resign myself to having just warm weather crops to look forward to, along with the inevitable hail storms that will pummel the crap out of them...
Meanwhile I am breaking out the blender. Electric lemonade sounds really good about now.
Must... not... comment... on... facebook. I really would love to leave her a comment like "WTH woman! Every time you drive your husband nuts and make him feel the need to get the heck away from you, he drags my husband out because he needs a buddy. Which so far is almost every day."
I swear... the man is like a teenage girl going to the bathroom... someone is coming with because going alone is not an option.
So when he finally wanders home... WOA may be in full force. I may just spell it out as to why I am pissed... puppets may even be involved so as to completely get my rage. Or... I may just make him guess repeatedly.
In another lifetime I would have gone shopping for outfits for the spontaneous trip I desperately need to take.
I wonder what would be needed to get citizenship in Bali. Or maybe Palau...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

the decades ahead

I wish he would have gotten a picture... but when my husband came home the other day (after several rounds of disc golf with the other spousal delinquents), he said he saw a version of us 40 years from now.
Little old couple in their late 70's to 80's... she was in her rascal type contraption, and he was ROLLERBLADING! He pushed her along, and on the hills she dragged him up.
My Rascal will need flames painted on it, a sound system, and those lights you see under cars. Oh and a horn rivaling what semi's have. In the meantime I suppose I could use an air horn as long as it matched my helmet.

A moment to sheer evil brilliance... like to the person who came up with naming this...

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia - Fear of long words

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Duggar nightmares

I am not kidding... the Duggars are frequent participants in my nightmares. Usually it also involves some sort of infomercial product. Why yes, I do fall asleep with the TV on at night.

Really, if every family tried to follow their example, the planet would be trashed in a decade. Yes, it is refreshing to see well mannered kids, but they go beyond sheltered to life in a bubble.

Fine, whatever if they try to impose on their kids to not even kiss until marriage. The dress code and strict conduct is their family's choice. Homeschooling that many kids of different ages, I don't see as a feasible task to do and still maintain quality.

This is what does irritate me... actually it terrifies me and saddens me at the same time too. They believe in creationism. The parents have only taught their kids that the world is 6,000 years old. Now if someone wants to believe in creationism vs evolution, fine, lovely, that's your choice. However, when they try to shoot down science without actually comprehending, listening or learning about the methods used, that makes me angry. Especially when the only validation they have is pointing to their version of the Bible and saying "because it says so." Not good enough. If you are going to take the position to look down or discredit someone about a belief, at the very least make an honest attempt to listen and learn about their evidence as to why they believe what they do.

In the meantime, I need to figure out how to block that channel so the nightmares stop.

Iris is hungry. How to remember N-P-K effects

I need to go feed the Iris patch today. I couldn't tell you what cultivar they are, they were here when we bought this place in 2002. Ditto for the rose shrub in the background.

See, I was nice when me moved. I had done a lot of planting and left the new owners maps of the plantings. What was planted when, what cultivar and from what source, where the bulbs are... all spelled out... no mystery.

Anyways, with the aspen down I intend on turning that whole stretch along the fence into a flower and herb garden. At least then the neighbors across the street and on the hill will have something nice to look at from their perch.

I don't have a budget to do this. We live on a shoestring budget since we moved here, and nowhere in that is an allotment for my gardening.

That is the price you pay sometimes when you opt to stay home to raise a challenging child vs just medicating them. ( She can focus with laser precision when she wants to, or I should say, is interested. She is frighteningly just like my brother-in-law in that this poor child has z-e-r-o common sense. Total day dreamer, creative, very intelligent, oblivious, non-motivated, unless it is something she really wants and then not even mountains will stop her from trying to get it.) I won't medicate her just because it is easier for adults to deal with a zombie. When she is grown up, she can make that decision for herself. Right now there is no telling how many of these characteristics can be outgrown or adjusted with self discipline. My brother in law outgrew much of it, so I have faith she will too. Until then, I won't take the easy way out because who knows what the consequences of the meds may be. Rant over.

Back to the irises... I offer them sprinkles of compost and coffee grounds. The rhizomes sit on top of the ground mostly, and they do not like to be buried. There are 2 patches of iris, and a huge difference between them in micro climate and earthworm activity. The patch with the plethora of worms is naturalizing like mad. It blooms very well and is very content. I don't use chemical fertilizers as earthworms do not like them. Compost and vermicompost is made from kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, leaves, etc. The worms love the compost, and aside from the compost fertilizing the irises, the worm casts enhance the area as well.

I have to thin them again this year. I have to thin them out every other year as they tend to get crowded to the point where they don't bloom well. Usually I give the extra rhizomes away, but not this year... this year they have a job to do.

N-P-K.. the numbers on fertilizer stand for this (1st number is the N.. nitrogen. 2nd number is the P for Phosphorus. 3rd number is for K which stands for Potassium. If You forget what P and K stand for, just remember they are in alphabetical order.) If you don't remember what does what, I made up a little thing that helps me remember:

  1. Need more green. Nitrogen helps plant growth as it is part of cholorphyll. So in short it promotes foliage. Too much on plants you want to flower or fruit and all you get is a lot of leaves.
  2. Pretty flowers and good roots. Phosphorus is needed in photosynthesis as well as helping the plants to form oils, sugars, starches (aka their energy. It help the plant convert the energy from the sun into chemical energy they use to grow). Phosphorus helps plants handle stress and promotes rapid growth.
  3. Keep them strong. Potassium is like prenatal vitamins or chicken soup. It helps the plant fend off disease and helps fruit quality. It plays a part in photosynthesis and helps the plant build proteins.
There is more to soil composition than just that, but those are the heavy hitters most focused on. If you are tossing a variety of things into your compost heap, many of the other trace mineral and nutrient needs should be ok. If earthworms join the mix, then they also bring an assortment of natural plant hormones, beneficial microbes, etc. to the party.

Well, enough talking about the irises... I now need to go take care of them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little Hop of Horror..

It starts out tiny, unassuming even cute. Audrey started out exactly like this. Just a few inches tall, my husband snuck her into the flat of plants at the nursery a few years ago. The aspen along the fence had died and knowing this was a climbing plant, he thought it could grow up the aspen until he was ready to take it down. No doubt in his mind he just envisioned two cute leafy canes growing up the aspen, maybe filling out a little as it went. All adorable and controlled, like in the pictures of hops farms.
She got huge... epic proportions huge. See the reddish pot at the bottom? I put it in that pot temporarily while he waited to get his shovel back from a neighbor. The neighbor had the shovel a very long time, and in the meantime... Audrey thrived. That picture is Audrey in June. She hadn't even finished growing or set flowers yet. Several major hailstorms nipped at her breaking a few bines, encouraging her to expand. Expand she did..7 feet either side of the fence as she stretched out, and nearly swallowing up the neighbor's hydrangea.
When Audrey did flower and set her hops, the weight caused the aspen to come crashing down. It made for an easy harvest. My husband's beer brewing fiends happily rushed off with the harvest just moments after they were picked.
Audrey multiplied, and by a lot. The whole 15 gallon pot is all rhizomes, and Audrey blew out the bottom of the pot sending roots far below. We divided Audrey up a few days ago. Split the pot contents in half and relocated. 5 little sections fell off and I planted those in 3 inch pots to share with the beer fiends.
Now I refer to my hops as female... that is because it is. Hop plants are either male or female. It takes about 1 male to fertilize 5 females. They also spread by way of rhizomes. So if you are hoping to get hops to make beer, you want the females only. Most of the cultivars are from rhizome clones (almost like propagating potatoes). Seeds are also sold, but rhizomes from a good dependable source can save you a lot of space as well as trouble. Seeds can be a gamble.
As for now.. my husband relocated the hops to the playground set he built our daughter. The playground set he keeps meaning to take down, but never has the time to do so. I think he is waiting for Audrey to work her hefty magic once again.

Bettas (pronounced bet-uhs)

I had a betta problem for a few years. It came to a crashing halt shortly after one foul move involving a full bucket of water both destroyed my back and blew out my knees. I miss them. I miss their babies and their attitudes. Unfortunately I have expensive tastes and the inability to only have a few.

My name is Anne, and I love bettas, comets and killiefish.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Confessions of a seed thief

I am a seed thief, and I come from a long line of seed thieves. Well, to be more accurate, more like a band of demented horticultural gypsies.

The seed thief is an elusive breed, the tricks of the trade usually passed from one generation to the next. My training began at a very young age as my grandmother would rattle off latin names for plants. The good intentions were there, but a bit over a 5 year old's head. Pointing out what plants were going to seed and ripe for collecting I soon became her favorite seed retriever.

Who suspects a little old german lady and her little granddaughter? Not many, and back in those early years Oma was pretty dang nimble. She could make Wesley Snipes look like a novice as she hopped over a stone fence to kindly deadhead some plants. In her 70's, gracefully hopping over those low stone walls and at the same time still keep her hair perfectly styled, her skirt wrinkle free and never a run in her hose. As fast as she was over, she was back again carefully depositing her stolen treasures into little bags in her purse and noting bits of info... plant name, location, sun, bloom color, bloom time, etc.

Some people take pictures, she takes seeds. Her garden literally is a scrapbook of her adventures. The touch, color and smell of these plants vividly bringing memories to the forefront. She passed that on to me, the need to collect seeds.

I have unintentionally already infected my daughter who also wanders home with seeds in her pockets. Her thing is trees. Apple seeds from lunch, maple tree pinwheels from her walk home, pine cones and acorns... in every seed she sees a forest yet to be.

Birds of a feather flock together... or they wear a well equipped fishing vest and take carefully timed routes through neighborhoods. I have a friend who opts to wear a modified fishing vest on her collecting sprees. She's like Victory Garden meets Inspector Gadget. Lots of pockets, little baggies, labels, pens, small scissors, clippers, water vials, garden pins, small hand trowel. This woman is die hard into guerilla style gardening.

Now where I am not above lifting snapdragon pods, hollyhock wheels, and the occasional hydrangea trimmings... I haven't gotten so far as liberating lilac suckers.

My Grandmother liked flowers, my daughter likes trees and shrubs... I like herbs and veggies. heirloom tomatoes from Farmer's Markets, various peppers, garlic, potatoes, rooting fresh basil, thyme and mints, I will experiment with them all. Well, except for C. Pepo (spaghetti squash, some pumpkins and the like) as that species crosses like crazy with the bees behaving like crazed floozies for their pollen.

A great book is "Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth. Seriously is the garden vegetable seed saving bible. It is an awesome gift for a vegetable gardening geek.

Right now my vermicompost bins are calling. I need to harvest from some of them and make sure they are going strong.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Jump starts

I try to start as many plants indoors as possible in order to extend the growing season, conserve space, not waste seeds, etc.

Newspaper pots rock. It is a origami type folding that is simple, square shaped (so they fit great in my trays) but a bit time consuming. You can store them flat, so you can make them during the off season when the desire to do something for the garden is not a weather reality.

Single thickness and it is basically a soil block. Double thickness makes them easier to move without need of a spatula. The roots of any plant can go through single and double thickness like a hot knife through butter. If you can fold a paper airplane, you can make these pots.

Peas are one that the success rate can be greatly improved, and the newspaper pots do the trick. They like cold weather, often best germination is when the soil is at 50 degrees, but this time of year wetness can also rot them with the temperature fluctuations. Soaking the peas overnight and planting them in newspaper pots with a touch of bean inoculant just under the pea (the inoculant is a nitrogen fixing bacteria that attaches to the peas' roots), then cover with an inch of soil and keep damp. No grow lights needed because when you see them popping up you can move them right into the garden. Snow is not a bother to these plants and you can gain a week or two of growing time just by doing this. No thinning needed, no gaps from unsprouted seed. The trick is to make sure you fill that little newspaper pot up to the top with pre-dampened soil and then bottom water the tray. When you transplant, make sure the whole pot is under the soil (otherwise it could act like a wick and evaporate the moisture from the soil.

Is it a pain in the butt? You betcha!! Well, only if you don't have pots premade really. Transplant shock is minimal so even squash, beans, leek and other finicky transplanters can be started.

Well, I do it a bit different as I found a couple of tricks to make it more exact and easier, in a few different sizes that fit my trays exactly, but this is essentially it in this video. TY Tiffany for taking the time to make this video. How to make a newspaper pot.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring doesn't wait for sanity

So yeah, had a bit of a meltdown. It happens to me on occasion when I feel I am always fighting to stay above water. Just have to keep going and find the energy to go. Dreamers often have nightmares.

Spring won't wait for sanity. So for the last few days I have been hunting thistle and bindweed. Have to dig as much of them up as possible. Those evil weeds store a ton of energy in their roots and trying to snuff them now is easier. Trying to get organized (ha!), I can dream.

I am trying to do as much as I can. I am too young to be this run down. It is a bitter pill to swallow when your personality is to be defiant, and then you have to ask for help to do something that you should be able to do on your own. My Dad was very similar to Archie Bunker. Girls can be teachers, mothers, a secretary or nurse. I was a tom boy. Tell me a girl couldn't do something and I would do my best to prove them wrong.

Divide and conquer. I refuse to give up. Dammit, lawns are boring! So instead of looking at the big picture, I am taking pride in my myopic victories. Big long list, just focusing on one at a time starting with the most time sensitive.

I have told the cat, if she destroys one more flat of seedlings I will coat her in bacon grease and let the dog have her as a giant feline lollipop.

I have told the dog, any more antics and he will be walked around the neighborhood dressed as a butterfly. Public humiliation. Oddly he likes the flower headbands, but the butterfly wings bother him. He breaks into the garden because he likes to "bury" his treasures in the irises. Actually, the rottie in him makes him so lazy that he won't really dig, he just finds a depression and calls it good enough. My daughter let him have a pig's ear, left the open bag on a chair. When I went to water the irises I can only say it looked like Martha Stewart tried to spruce up a slaughter house. It is right up there with the cow femur and cosmos, rawhide and hollyhocks, squeaky toys and lilacs.

He gets a bit odd with the whole protect the family from the evil doers on the other side of the fence (rottie and chow in him, protect the family). They can come in the yard, he is fine, in the house he is fine (he'll show them his food bowl should they want a snack), he'll share his toys (but not his treasures. There are somethings he will not share and will revert back to that hungry, food crazy, freaky, abused puppy from long ago.) Just the fence... that is the stupid line. Reinforced by ignorant, mean spirited, bored teenagers that threw rocks (and hit him) repeatedly.. it is a hard behavior to undo. He won't bark at strollers though, he loves babies. He will pace the fence with them wagging his tail at top speed. Babies are tasty. The shepard and collie in him... round up the little people.

He's a total mutt. Rottie, chow, german shepard and collie... he's quirky, lazy, extremely loving, chatty, expressive, sneaky, food and attention motivated, and prone to eating anything you toss. (paper wrapper, a lip balm, his vitamins, a worm.) I about dry heaved on that one... he ate a worm I pulled off the pitchfork and was trying to toss back into the garden. Big huuuuge fat gray worm, snatched out of the air and swallowed.

Anyways, the garden is fenced off. He will wiggle his big furry self into spaces I never thought possible, so if I am in the garden he will try to get in. Must protect family from the fence dwellers. He will lay between me and the fence, thousands of carefully tended seedlings meet their demise this way.

Seedlings, cold weather ones are started, many planted outside already, now the warm weather ones are in order. Peppers and eggplant were started awhile ago, tomatillos and some tomatoes as well. I have to start the next set of tomatoes, cosmos, basil, dill, squash, etc. I planted the potatoes yesterday, and more peas..

I better get back to the garden. My husband decided to double the size of it and is still wanting to expand. If he thinks this gets himself more free time to disc golf he has another thing coming!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Transplanting, Oma, Discothek

I have been transplanting peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage and the like. Some plants don't like to be moved. The way I look at it is like comparing some family members' reactions to situations.

My next older sister, you can uproot her from anywhere, put her into almost any situation and she'll be fine. She's kinda like a weed now that I think about it.

Now my Grandmother (Oma) was one that was rather set in her ways. Either she likes it or she doesn't, there is a right way (HER way) and a wrong way (any option other than her way), you have just a few minutes tops in a new situation before she makes up her mind. Into her 80's she would go a few weeks every year to go hiking in the Alps. Her version of excitement was a wicked game of Canasta with fellow old german biddies, or pilfering flower seeds on her walks.

When you are transplanting, you are relocating the plant, and for the finicky ones, you are trying to convince them they can be happy in their new setting. This usually involves some pampering and special treatment until they get situated.

Here's an example: My sister (weedy) was living in Germany a good distance from our Oma. Far enough away that visits are occasional and not daily. Weedy went to Hamburg to take Oma out for a lovely meal for her birthday. Now somehow Weedy stumbled upon some friends while they were window shopping before dinner. Oma liked them right away and invited them to join for dinner.

Weedy has a thing for good wines. Let's just say everyone was feeling extremely good by the time the meal was done. Weedy's friend made a comment about dancing. Oma now more than a little tipsy actually squealed she wanted to go out dancing. Weedy's exceptionally handsome friends each took Oma by the arm, said they knew a great place, and off they all went to the DISCOTHEK!

It took her a surprising amount of time to figure out Weedy's friends were gay, it took a surprising amount of time for her to notice the disco was mainly gay men, and very little encouragement needed to coax her to go out and shake her groove thang. Oh yes, Weedy called me. A moment like this you have to tell someone immediately. (BTW, to the lovely men that cheered my lil' old grandmother on at the disco, I have to say thank you. It took her 2 weeks to recover, but she had a blast. The canasta group at that point determined she was the wild one of the bunch.)

Transplanting... it can be like taking an extremely reserved proper old lady to a setting way out of her norm. Compost teas, especially vermicompost tea (like wine) if applied well can make the experience more enjoyable.