Archive for June, 2008

Parties, plant, Prius

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I can’t seem to focus on one thought-stream, so this’ll be a mish-mash.

Today I attended two birthday parties. I don’t think I’ve attended two in one day before. At one, I watched a assortment of well-behaved children play a lot of pocket billiards—which involved considerable focus and only the rare occasion when the ball aimed at actually fell. I really liked watching the little guy who concentrated so very hard although his eyes were below the level of the top of the rails. The other party was a small, cozy family affair (no game room; no tots). Ice cream choices were dubbed green and white (mint choc chip and natural vanilla).

The picture: this is the present form of the mystery plant I identified in May as a jack-in-the-pulpit. I spent a bit more time than usual googling to find a picture of a the plant at this stage, but finally found one. So, yes, this is what a JITP looks like in this phase. Identification confirmed. I also note that I can expect the berries to turn bright red. Waiting.

JCB also brought us perspective on our Prius (supposed to be released by the body shop mid-week), but I’ll save that for its own entry—and photo.

It’s Friday (the 13th)!*

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When I find the world upside down on top of the pantry cupboard under a huge mixing bowl, I just know it must be Friday.

* Alternate title from JCB: “World hides until Friday the 13th is over.”

Whatta morning!

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Somewhere in Tennessee—or was it Kentucky—we stopped for gas the other day, and this closed-up stone house was across the road from the gas station.

I woke up early this morning, sometime around 4:40 am. Sigh. But there was no falling back asleep, so I got up to read the news on the internet.

Wrong.

JCB found out it’d been out since 1:00 am and it didn’t come back on until 7:30 am. I’m still discombobulated.

Leinenkugel tease

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I forgot to mention this particular excitement from our Michigan adventure. Honey bees that had quietly colonized a gap between the chimney and the siding several years ago decided to swarm. Right by the garage door. Fortunately, our kindly neighbor is a beekeeper. He brought over a hive loaded with a comb to make it attractive to the scout bees, and we hoped they would find it and move in. They did! Unfortunately, he says only half of the original bunch will move to the new residence, so they aren’t gone from the house.

Like many people, I have a “junque” email address that I use when I’m forced to give one to an entity I never want to receive emails from. Today when I checked one of them (yeah, I have several*; yahoo gives them out for free!), I learned that Delta is trying to entice me aboard with the following:

You can now enjoy Leinenkugel’s award-winning Sunset Wheat beer onboard Delta flights.

I can remember when Leinies had a very local distribution. And I suspect that in the bad old days they didn’t make a Sunset Wheat flavor! Actually, I’d be far more tempted by decent food, but not enough to buy a ticket.

* The name of one riffs on the word basura, Spanish for garbage….

Stomping grounds…

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Lots going on today, but instead of recounting it (or part of it), here’s a picture from deep in the digital archives, from the first weeks I had my first digital camera (image number 00128, to be exact). Indeed, I think this was the first of what has become a (somewhat) long line of insect photos (many by accident).

Okay, I’m pretty fried; look at all those parens!

Garden achievements

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Here’s some clarification for Saturday’s somewhat garbled post. This is The Botanist’s garden (well, the west end of it) where we’ve been doing so much work, mostly weeding and laying weed-discouraging newspapers (the ones that were blown about in the winds).

Decoding: OS = old strawberries; NS = new strawberries; Peas = (English) peas; On = green onions; Pep = green peppers; Tom = tomatoes; Asp = asparagus. Here’s the story….

The strawberry plants not only produce berries, they also send out runners, which extend a foot or so from the parent plant, then seek to root, making a new daughter plant. The Botanist trains them in a single direction, thereby creating a strawberry bed with sections each of a different age. So the OS is on it’s third year, and the NS is either on its second year, or, in the area with sparse plants farthest from the OS bed, the plants were bought new this year. We removed all blossoms and incipient fruit from these newest plants, so this year they put their energy into making plants rather than making fruit. The second year and newest plants are surrounded by newspapers, every one put down by JCB (an unexpected skill-set, perhaps; he’s really quite good at it).

I checked the pea pods, and they were a little over an inch long yesterday. Perhaps in another week the peas will be big enough to pick. Then shell. Lots of work. But excellent sweetness and flavor—nothing like those frozen ones…. Actually, the “Peas” label is more on top of a lot of extremely tasty lettuce that is growing between the peas and the newest strawberry plants.

For a little extra Vitamin K, there’s three-quarters of a row of green onions. Toward the back of that row is about six feet of collard greens and then about five feet of beets. Clearly, The Botanist prefers onions to greens and beets….

Behind the fence, where there’s another place with lots of newspaper over open spaces, there’s a row of green pepper plants then a row of tomato plants. The individual plants are almost impossible to spot among the greenish weeds that are holding down the newspaper.

The fluffy tall plants behind all of these are asparagus. They grow from buried crowns that sprout every spring. You can snap off the sprouts (as it were) for a while (yum!), but then you have to leave some to mature and go to seed.

You can’t see the raspberries (pruned to be fall-bearing) and peonies and grapes that grown in the lowest corner of the yard beyond the asparagus. At the other end of the main garden, to the left outside the frame, are un-hilled hills of muskmelon and a row of cucumbers at the base of a fence (they’re easier to pick and take less room when trained up a fence).

No sweet corn this year. Raccoons have gotten the entire crop the last three years. The Botanist says not this year.

Peony watch

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I’ve been watching the hard spherical buds on the two peonies, and today’s the first day they both have fully opened flowers, so we took one of each color up to Mom and floated them in a bowl.

Stormy skies

We watched the layered sky become all grey and dark as the storm came in from the west yesterday. Thankfully, it took the edge off the intense heat that had built up throughout the day. I had to pick up loose newspapers from the neighbors ditch, which had been loosened by the gusty winds (they’re laid in a mosaic-blanket between the rows and held down—when it works—by weeds and strategic bits of soil, and function to hold in moisture and control unwanted vegetation).

Today, however, we’re back in the humid soup that stands in for atmosphere in this part of the world during this season. Still, my stalwart helper and I managed to put in almost two hours this morning adding more newspapers around the tomatoes and between the rows of peas—these are rather intellectual veggies, nourished by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and the odd copy of the State News. Before I quit, I also picked lots of strawberries; someone’s going to be making jam or slicing berries for the freezer next week (not me!).

Summer temps

The summer heat has arrived with a vengeance. At 10:30 am, it was already 88°F.

HB, Bro!

A little bird told me it’s somebody’s birthday today.

Not me! (Not yet!)