Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!

Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!
Deep in the Lair of the Perpetually Curious Fox

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Nimbus ... almost a tornado.

The weather system here is pretty unique, in that we get the chinook winds from the mountains in the west. The clouds looked almost menacing - almost the perfect condition for a tornado.

It literally looks like the sky was boiling!

Several boxes flew off the neighbour's roof. Not a good idea to do roofing in this kind of weather!

Heeeere's Aloe polyphylla!

Oh jolly good, one of the Aloe polyphylla seeds has hatched. It won't be long now before the others start to peek out from the soil/perlite mix. The rainwater has been really good for the germination.

About 5mm long. Mr Frodo took a long time coming
The succulent leaf I picked off the garden centre floor last week also started to root out and putting out a pup

Didn't take long. Only about a week or so.
OK, I have to admit I kind of went a bit nuts picking up shed succulent leaves at the cactus section. Even some discarded cactus pups. Will need to get a proper succulent pot soon
Yes, that is a purple cactus at the back in the clear plastic container.
Gizmo is looking like it's going to put out a central cactus stalk soon!

Evil Plot update. Romanesco broccoli, Papaver rhoeas, Basil, Chards/Beets, potatoes, and a mutant rose!

So the broccolis got repotted again a couple of evenings ago. They are really greening out! Bill and Ted looks really happy chilling out in their larger pots. The leaves look a bit rough do to really strong winds this past month.

Bill doing nicely

Ted looks bigger than Bill now!
The potatoes will need a bigger pot, too! They are really bushing up. I wonder how long do I have to wait before I get to harvest some new potatoes?
Won't be long before some homemade pesto will be on the menu, either! Even the ones planted in the ground are looking pretty bushy. I'll probably let some plants flower just to see what it looks like.

It's very hard to resist pinching a sprig or two and have a taste!
It's so good when its fresh from the pot.
Coriander has started to bolt. I guess I better start eating it with my noodles!

The mixed up beets and chards will need a transplant into the bigger planter trough in a week or so, along with the chinese mustard.
Maybe some fresh beets and chards in autumn for the dinner table.
One of the rose bushes has a mutant flower. I'm definitely looking forward to save the rosehip from this wonderful weird one.
Half red, half pink. Wonder if it's having an identity crisis?

And finally, some poppies that aren't darned pink! Yay! These guys are having their seeds saved up ... for another prank project ^_^

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bugs! Aphids, Misumena vatia and some bumbling bees.

There's been quite an infestation of aphids and spider mites in the Evil Plot. I'm trying to make the garden as hospitable as possible to spiders, bees and ladybugs - so insecticide is out of the question ... most of the time! I did have to resort to spraying some of the vegetable seedlings and the rosebushes new growths with pyrethrin spray as they are starting to look pretty decimated even after spraying with water and liberal applications of Neem Oil mix spray (oh, this do work, just not immediately, and the seedlings looked like they are dying from all the sap being sucked out!).

Them nassssty suckers

I hate them as much as I hate mosquitos

Poor larkspur has no chance

I did check to make sure I'm not killing any nice spiders, bees or lady bugs. Here's some of the good guys:

Misumena vatia (Goldenrod Crab Spider).

Of the thomisidae family, so it has a crab like habit of using it's front legs to catch prey. In most cases it catches bees, but it also eats the nasty bugs like wasps and ants (who like to herd their aphids up the rosebushes!) so I'm pretty happy to let her (it's female if it is white - the males are brownish and smaller, although having the same crab-like stance) stay in the garden. Plus Misumenas have a very unique ability to change colour -green or yellow or white - to best suit it's lair (she doesn't build any webs, but lies in wait in the flowers for visiting insects). 

The fact that she's reliably residing in the rosebushes or in one of the flowers under the rosebushes makes it (relatively) easy to photograph her compared to other spiders who quickly sneaks away while I get my camera. White spiders look pretty unusual to a person from Southeast Asia!

She's waving her front legs threateningly at me!

Waiting for some careless bug to walk riiiight into her dinner table!
Bombus terrestris (Bumblebee)

I like the fact that there's a Bumblebee nest somewhere nearby the back garden. The colony visits the plants regularly so I did have a chance to follow and take snapshots of one bee. She (the workers are female) was not very amused with having a Nikon lens zooming in and out close to her while she's busy gathering nectar!

Need a better setting to catch a bumblebee in mid-flight!

Another arachnid has taken residence with the Papaver rhoeas.Technically not a spider eventhough it has 8 legs. It eats small bugs (like aphids) so it is more than welcome to stay on the poppies.

Welcome to my parlour, says the Opilione