Garden

2017



Fait accompli





May 30, 2017

At 6:30 this morning the thermometer showed 32 degrees and there was ice on the two bird baths. By noon it had risen 30 degrees eventually topping out at 70 for a little while in the afternoon. After what seems like weeks of overcast skies and chilly weather, the sun came out, invigorating everything and everybody, or at least me.
     So, after putting all the plants out to enjoy the sunshine I went after the nagging chore of finishing tilling and leveling the big garden space in front of the house and for once in recent days finished something I started in the same day.
     I've been putting the plants out every day except a couple when the wind was just too strong, hardening them for the day I can plant. I really want to see an overnight low of 50 before I do that but if this weather holds and the temps stay in the 40s I will give it a try. I have lost a few plants to the weather particularly the wind and to keeping them in pots too long. Principal among them are the potatoes which are the tall potted plants in the foreground of this picture. They are crowded in those planters and I think with way too much leaf growth that should have been going into potato growth.
     One pot has only one plant and it's particularly heavy and I figure that one is full of young potatoes. The other two have up to four plants and are light and I think they are crowding each other. We'll see when they come out for planting. If all fails I have other potatoes planted in one of the squares.
     I have lost maybe half my zucchini plants and also half the corn. Oddly the toughest plants are the sunflowers grown from bird seed.
     It wouldn't be my garden if things didn't go haywire so the experiments continue. A bunch of the growers around here are holding a sale of starter plants Saturday so I am going to pick some up there to fill out the garden. Maybe plant what I have by Thursday.
    Oh yeah, that plant in the lower right hand corner is a lilac that looks to be ready to bloom and grow beyond recent years.
     And then there's that pile of firewood in the background that needs to be split. Soon. I backed over a stump next to it with my new truck the other night and it came up and dented the rocker panel. That didn't take long.

Past garden stories

Taking it outdoors

    May 20, 2017
Hardening cart: I can drive it around to keep plants in the sunlight all day.
The Solo cup garden is outgrowing the indoor space so outdoors we go. First day of hardening today with the sun shining and a healthy breeze blowing
     Some of the corn plants have grown past two feet and buds adorned the tips of stems on the zucchini. Strange height to potato plants started indoors and today I planted one of the four-by-fours with other seed potatoes.
     Sunflowers grown from the same seeds I feed the birds have reached above a foot, too. 
     Meanwhile two new specimens of a fragrant type geranium are hardening near the doorway in an effort to keep the mosquitoes away if possible. One already has buds on it. The lilac 
Solo cup garden indoors.
does too. It usually greens up around the same time as Green Day which happened some time last week.
     The ground temperature has been higher than 50 for more than a week now and it's getting close enough to Memorial Day, if the weather holds I might not wait for the weekend and plant maybe Wednesday or so.
     It's not the most ambitious garden I've tried, mostly potatoes and zucchini but it has some interesting experiments too, including the corn and sunflowers grown from bird seed.
New garden edging. Funny story about those timbers. Three Lowe's employees stood about 20 feet away watching me load nine of those timbers onto a cart by myself. This was after one came by and stood there watching me try to wrestle them around a fork lift that was blocking the pile and never thought to move it until I asked him to. I let the three slackers know I wasn't too happy with them. Loaded the truck by myself too. I'm a bad man! lol

A meager harvest at best …

Eight-foot sunflowers, next year corn.
… but more than I can use even so.
September 7, 2016
With frosts predicted almost daily and night temperatures dropping into the 30s the time came to bring in the crop – harvest day in the haphazard garden.

The garden didn't produce nearly as much as in past years but there are several valid excuses. To begin with I almost didn't plant at all and so when I did start it was late and then I didn't plant nearly as much as I have in past years. Then over the summer I gave away most of the the zucchinis that grew, particularly the big ones, lettuce too. The lettuce planted in a pot next to the door grew at least four harvestable quantities, coming back strong after every cutting, so that experiment was worth it.

Some sizable zucchinis came up but I gave most of those away and had a couple of meals out of a few more. Potatoes came in strong. Having some of those tonight.

A friend came out and I gave her most of what I harvested today to share with other friends, so it is all going to good homes and the whole process no mater the outcome is satisfying and worth the effort.

Lettuce, zucchini and potatoes.
And then there are the sunflowers, another experiment and they came out great. Some are 8 feet tall now. I am going to leave them there to drop seeds and see what happens in the spring. But given the success in that particular part of the garden, I can see a new experiment next year, particularly if we have another early spring. If I'm still here I plan to try some corn out there. If it gets as high as an elephant's eye by early July I may have a new crop to try. 
All in all, a success and enough so as to encourage another try.

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An experimental garden

April 28, 2017
How long was it going to take before garden talk showed up this spring? Well, this long. Seeds went into Solo cups Sunday and Monday and already are sprouting.
     Rather than plant the same old stuff this year there are a couple of experiments in the works. First,
These are sprouts from sunflower seeds bought as bird feed over the winter.
last summer a sunflower sprouted in a place I hadn't planted nor where an errant seed from the plantings could have landed. Nevertheless the plant grew to a little more than two feet tall and flowered. A friend suggested an errant seed but none that I could think of could have reached that particular place. This spring raking up the leavings of the winter I found the answer. The birds had left numerous sunflower seeds on the ground from spillage off the feeders. Could I have missed one of those with the rake and it sprouted? I brought it up as a question and a friend said she often sees sunflowers sprout under her feeders. So, I thought, why not plant a few to see what happens.
     Sure enough after about four days little sunflowers are sprouting in my Solo cup ranch. We'll see how they do over the summer.
Corn sprouts – four days, only 54 to go.
     Meanwhile after the success with sunflowers last year I thought I would experiment with the planting spot rather than the plants. No sunflowers this year except the ones growing from bird feed. Instead I started some corn last Monday. I picked two varieties that have shorter growing seasons, one is 60 days and the other 70, and I will put them in the spot that gets the most sunlight, where the sunflowers were last year and again, we'll see what they do.
     Along with those I have started the usual selection of favorites, zucchini, potatoes, lettuce and a few onions. It will all make a smaller garden this year and I hope a more productive one. I did a little research over the winter and I'm adding some fertilizer and some fertilized soil around the place and fixing the boxes so they drain better, raking and loosening the soil deeper than I did last year and drilling some drainage holes near the bottoms of the planks in the raised spots.
     I might invest in a few flowered plants at the store later. Looking forward to one of those conglomerations of potatoes, zucchini and red peppers coming out of the oven in the future. Some day no matter what my doctor says I might melt some cheese over it. Maybe take two of those cholesterol pills that day and give them something to do. So it goes, watch this space for updates.

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Interesting quotations

"In the final analysis your life is only as good as the background music you dance to." – that was me

"Whether you think that you can or you think you can't, you are right." – Henry Ford

"You want to feel alive until the day you croak" – Frank Gallagher Shameless

"Smooth is good but sailing takes a brisk wind" – me

"I'm a drinker with writing problems." ~ Brendan Behan

"Religious Freedom is not about stopping persecution; it’s about being the one who gets to do it. Glory!" – Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's best Christian

It doesn't matter what you write, it only matters that you write.

"Give someone a book and they'll read all day. Teach someone to write a book and they'll spend a lifetime mired in paralyzing self doubt." – internet meme

"It's been a long time since I heard my backbone crack – Chuck Berry

“Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.” – JD

"I was the only person up on the hill with both racing numbers and a handicapped placard." – Kitty Delorey Fleischman, a grandmother who occasionally still races her Porsche in hill climbs.

Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. – anon

"Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool." – Mark Twain

Shit happens; you just come up with a different plan. – Kitty

Your body is not a temple. It's an amusement park. – Anthony Bourdain

Never too late for a happy childhood – Berkley Breathed

A real writer doesn't just want to write, a real writer has to write. – Internet meme

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner" – David Lagercrants, "The Girl in the Spider's Web"

The non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

We never comprehend how heavy the things are we insist on carrying until we set them down. jd

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio talk show host

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve