Thursday, May 23, 2019

Thursday, May 23

I looks like we will get a bit of sun today. We had a good bit yesterday but we did grocery shopping which involved replenishing a good bit much of which involved several heavy loads we had to lug from the car inside. Even a light shopping day leaves us tired and not wanting to do much of anything else the rest of the day. Last night we had severe thunderstorms that left everything soggy. Even so I have cleaned out the bird feeders which I will fill once they have dried, and potted the oregano we got with the groceries yesterday.

The prices, however, are unbelievable. Pots that only two or three years ago would have sold for $2-3 were marked at $4. We saw several nice flowering plants but balked at the $8-10 they wanted. I did buy oregano, lemon thyme and creeping Jenny. I put the oregano into a medium sized pot and sank it into the 5-gal bucket so I can, I hope, pull it (pot and all) to bring in over winter. I plan on doing the same with other herbs as well. Next spring I want to try to root cuttings.

My second pot of snake beans appear to be going the way of the first so starting them from seed this year is a bust. The pickling cucumbers and sour gherkins are also. Those I will plant directly in the gardens and hope for some small yield. This has been a miserable spring for gardening.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Monday, May 20

So far May has been more like April used to be--while April was more like March used to be. We had a very brief appearance of sun but the clouds have rolled in again. The weather people say it should be cooler and cloudy today so I will get a couple of things done in the gardens. They think tomorrow will be blustery and wet so we will do our laundry. But, honestly, no one really knows how the systems will set up so we are winging it here.

I found this in a rather circuitous route. The Political Wire picked it up from the author's twitter feed but I went looking for a longer discussion. The knowledge that our number system, the one we are taught before we even enter kindergarten, is called "Arabic numerals" was, I thought. rather common place. Evidently, the term Arabic elicits a knee-jerk reaction. I wonder what the respondents think should take the place of Arabic numerals. Maybe Roman numerals. Or Mayan. I quibble with the last observation that, because more Democrats said no on teaching the "creation theory of Catholic priest George Lemaitre" Democrats are more anti-religion. They admit that Lemaitre isn't well known even though he first propounded what became the "Big Bang theory." I would say that the wording of the question was also incredibly misleading--certainly not as clear as the question concerning Arabic numerals. I had no idea who he was and would be against "creation science" as proposed by our Christian fundamentalists. I don't approve of teaching religion as science.

Update: won't get much done in the garden. Too cold. I did adjust the cover on the last transplanting of snake beans which are looking a bit worse for the chill, the wind and the damp. I may not get much more in before June. I guess I shouldn't be as bummed out as I am. I heard a report over the weekend that farmers in the southern plains and Mississippi valley are a month behind their planting.

Instead I have two new doilies working, a stack of finished ones to starch and stretch and one to wash before stretching and starching, plus four embroidery projects on hoops. I also have a number of books on the iPad I want to finish before I select new items from the list of potentially interesting books I might buy.

Tuesday, May 21

Today looks like yesterday. Wet, windy and chilly. I hope the transplants of snake beans survive. For the first then years I gardened on this patio I got nearly everything in by late May and my hardy plants were in by early May. But for the last five years the weather in April and, especially, in May has been so very chancy. On the opposite end I have been harvesting herbs and other plants into November. I took my hibiscus plants inside in mid November and they continued to bloom into December. I have them outside now and neither are looking all that happy though not as though they were going to expire on me.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

May 16

The garden is slowly--very slowly--filling in. The black-eyed Susans and snake beans were done in by a sudden night at 30F. I plan to put in seeds to replace them. I told Mom that five year ago my planters would have been filled already but this year I won't see that until well into June. Just as well I decided to go mostly with flowers and herbs. Yesterday was beautiful and I transplanted the pots of rosemary I started from cuttings. I had intended to give one to my niece but she has serious health problems so I expect I will keep it. I also transplanted the basil and spearmint into the pots for the season. Since it was so nice we decided to go to the local garden/home improvement centers to get the potting soil and soil additives I needed and scan the available plants. Picked up lemongrass and peppermint. I wanted lemongrass last year but thought the only ones I saw overpriced for not terribly attractive plants. My favorite herbal tea is a lemongrass/lavender mix which I hope to be able to mix up myself.

We expect bouts of rain for later today (the clouds are moving in already) and through Sunday. Most of the gardener bloggers I follow have the same complaints: season has been too wet and too cold. One is a little older than I am (70) and feels the way I do: gardening in the rain and cold is no fun, especially at our age.

I have a new doily about half a round from the finish so hopefully I will soon have a picture of it washed, stretched and starched. I haven't taken many pictures of late. I wasn't sure I would be posting any new photos because we had to replace our old lap tops that were all set up for the camera. The new ones needed different connections and I wasn't sure the soft ware would be compatible. Well, Those problems are fixed so new pictures should be up soon.

We change technology reluctantly even when the new product is from a company we have already dealt with. Learning to use the new stuff is always frustrating. And more and more often we find ourselves opting for the lower end technology because we simply don't need all the bells and whistles. We simply don't believe that newer is necessarily better.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Well, I'm back. At least for now. I haven't been totally idle. These are a couple of pieces I finished over the last few months. I also finished a small crochet table cloth, a couple of other embroidered table scarves, and more crochet doilies.

What I haven't done is comment much on the politics. That is much too depressing. Once upon a time we took pride in being a nation of laws not men. Now, that claim is a bitter joke and the rot starts at the top. We also once took pride in being a nation of immigrants which is also a bitter joke. I could go on down the line.

The weather has been strange. Some days it feels like spring has arrived but then winter makes a brutal reappearance. We have had more rain than is normal and it comes as a monsoonal deluge which pounds any transplants you have been unwise enough to put in. I lost my cardinal climbers but the snake beans and black-eyed susans were well protected and are doing fine. The hibiscus are also doing well though one almost expired when we got almost summer temperatures and way too much sun. It has now rebounded in a shadier place. I did get spearmint and lavender planted. Those transplants were well enough developed to withstand the rain. But most of the garden remain to be planted. For about the last five+ years the planting seems to have moved further into May and this year it may not be finished before late June. We'll see. The local outdoor/farm market opens on June 1 and those venders usually have interesting plants for sale.

I am not cultivating my planters as much this year--mostly the top six inches at most. Some of the bigger pots I will only dig where I am going to put the transplant.

This year most of what I started from seeds have done well. I have a pot of Black Russian tomato plants which I will reduce to two when I put them in. I had decided not to plant any tomatoes but these were a freebee. I won't do any peppers either. However, I do have nice pots of Mexican sour gherkins and Parisian pickling cucumbers ready to think and put out. They should be interesting.

I didn't do much planning this year. I find that the garden I wind up with in the fall is never the one I planned or the one I planted. It is an interesting surprise every year.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

February 5

It was a very pleasant day yesterday--sun and a balmy 50+. But the interlude is ending. Temperatures are falling and we will be under a winter weather alert for an ice storm due to come in over night. We did our shopping yesterday so we aren't worried about running out of anything. I was surprised, after the snow melted, to see my strawberry plants seem to be green yet. They might yet make it through. One of our stops is a regional big box where we get almost everything (except meat and a few special items) and we took a walk through the seasonal space to see how the gardening section is doing. They had seeds in: a nice selection of Burpee seeds. I plan to visit the local Menards later this month because they have a more extensive section. However, I still plan to use transplants for most of my gardening.

Speaking of shopping this piece at the Organic Prepper caused a bit of discussion--mainly about how much it reflects our own experience here.We have gotten far more picky about what we buy and now expect to visit at least two stores each time we go shopping. For the last half dozen years we have noticed sections of foods shrinking and more frequent episodes when even finding what we want is more difficult. Sometimes whole shelves were empty and we weren't shopping just before a weather event. Usually when a storm is coming we do a quick mental inventory and we find we don't really need to go out and so don't. Yesterday we had to visit five stores to get everything on our list.

This story from the Netherlands is only one of several about mass animal die-offs I have seen from various places around the world.

Andrew Bacevich on living in TrumpWorld.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

February 3

The temperature is 41F right now and is expected to rise into the high 40s. After last week's deep freeze it feels downright balmy. The snow seems to be melting quickly.

First on the reading list this morning this piece by David Kaiser who says what I have been thinking for sometime: it is time to end the purity crusade and exercise some common sense. Learn from the past and make changes for the future. Don't obliterate the past because you can't learn from what is invisible.

Having just emerged from hibernation (thanks to the arctic cold snap just leaving our area), I found this an interesting article.

Friday, February 1, 2019

January 30

Our internet and cable services were down for about 6 hours thanks to the cold. Right now it is -15F and that is an improvement of close to -20 early this morning. The windchill is -41. I finished a new doily, explored the technique warping of a little pin loom, read some on three books. Now I will be able to finish my e-mail. This article at ABC gives details. We may have mail delivery here but we won't go outside to retrieve it until Friday at the earliest. I don't think the city trash pick up came by yesterday and we didn't bother putting our trash tote out. We only have one small trash bag in it anyway.

So #45 promised that the tax cut would boost GDP and boost jobs, hugely. Evidently not so much. The results were weak and are fading.

February 1

Well things are somewhat back to normal. The internet is no longer excruciatingly slow or non-existent. It is still cold but at least the temperature was above 0F when we woke this morning. The weather predictions say we should be in the 40s by the Sunday and have 40s and 50s early next week with rain. Mind boggling.