Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!

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

Monday, 14 May 2012

Warm spell brings more hatchlings ...

First off, the African Violets (Saintpaulia spp) indoors has bloomed. They seem to really like sitting in the North facing window!

Two "rescued" lily bulbs in the bargain bin in the grocery store is living very happily in the pot for now. Might transplant them into the ground soon, though.

Also managed to overwinter several lily bulbs successfully under the spruce trees, in their pots, and covered in cones.

Just for giggles I saved a mango seed to try see if I can get a houseplant mango tree. I've let the seed dry out over a couple of weeks and then cracked the seed casing to free the bean shaped seed inside.

Was given some Scotch Bonnet pepper seed (Capsicum frutescens) and they germinated OK, too. Hopefully they won't be too fussy about the cold nights.

Little hatchlings in the germinator seed flat thing. Transplanted the hatched Brassicas and Chards to the newly dug vegetable plot.

Yes, that is chickenwire covering the plot... the squirrels love to dig up the seeds and hatchlings, not to mention the neighbour's cat has a habit of pooping in loose friable soil LOL.

As the hatchlings grow taller, the mesh will be taken off, and instead of covering over it, it'll be a "perimeter fence".

Of course, there's also lots and lots and lots of sunflowers and borage seedlings, too. They tend to have a high casualty rate due to grey squirrels. Fortunately the red squirrels aren't so fond of digging up the garden. They are fond of mushrooms and fruits, though ... 

Of course, the cat loves sleeping in the tall grass when she's not busy watching birdies

White Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys rare sighting, really, for Alberta!) mucking about under the birdfeeder. They are being displaced by common (European) house sparrows

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Return of the Triffids

Did I tell you that I've been busy? Been digging up a new vegetable/flower bed in the back garden, bordering and just under the upstairs bedroom balcony/deck. Removed the top grassy layer and piled them in the wheel barrow to go into the would be compost heap that I'll be working on next. 

Dug about a foot deep and was pleasantly surprised at how rich the soil is under the grass. Accidentally chopped up a few worms (sorry, my annelid friends), too, in the process. 

The weather's been pretty wet and spring-like. Wet, cool, overcast. Started a few seeds already in the greenhouse, too, with a small block heater in the bottom-most shelf. While the block heater makes sure the the in-greenhouse temperature is about a balmy 20 deg C during the day, it just barely keeps the 'house about 5 deg at night when it drops down to below freezing. Good 'nuff.
13 feet by 1 foot (or 4 meters by 0.3 meters). Nearly lost a toe in the digging, too! Lucky for presence of footwear,
a big bruised big toe is better than a chopped off big toe any day.

Some Gai Choy, beets, and Chards in the long container at the back. My egg-carton germinator in the foreground.
Various lavandula types in the polystyrene cup, and indoor over-wintered catnip on the left.

50 seedling coconut fibre pots filled with goodies to come!

A randomly buried (by squirrel pop in the hanging basket) sunflower seed making an early wake up
Carrot greenery poking through... didn't start this from seed though, had a carrot top from dinner prep that I figured
would be worth trying to grow ...

I would guess from the colour of the seedlings, they are the beets.

Gai Choy seedling

Last years Red Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) seeds germinated just fine, and surprisingly, when it's not even 10 deg C most days.
Whole bunch of Tropaeolum majus seeds being tucked into old cardboard  TP rolls germinator ...

The Aquilegia rhizomes already sent out new foliage in from the mulched down beds ...

Supposed to Aquilegia seedlings, but is it just me or does it look very Brassica-ish? I'm getting a bit worried now!
Identity crisis plants!

More Brassica-ish Aquilegia seedlings. Oh well, lots of cabbages for us then! Must be seed packet labelling error. 
Random dried pea that I picked up from the pet food supply shop germinated fine indoors, but is a bit ratty looking now when being left outside (after hardening off). It shares the pot with another chestnut seedling.

Good to see the lily bulbs I buried under the spruce tree (inside the pot) made it through winter OK!

Mesclun salad seed mix ...out of 10 seeds scattered onto the pot's surface a month ago only two seedlings tolerated the temperature swings outside. The tall leafy one near the right corner is actually a random kidney bean that I pushed into the soil just for giggles. Never thought it would sprout out just nice in the cold weather!
After overwintering indoors for 5 months, the miniature rose (Rosa chinensis) is soooo glad to come out into real sunlight!
Starts sending out profusion of new well formed leaves within days of being out.

Yeaaa Nepeta cataria (catnip) looks a bit ratty and leggy but they'll bounce
back after I pinch the sickly looking indoor leaves off.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Random writings. Or ramblings.

Sorry folks, been busy prepping the garden for the cold weather veg. Will update with the plant log and growth pics when I can find the camera again! In the meantime, have a dose of Fiction.

The Wisdom of the River

I stood by the river. It has just stopped raining. The banks are flooded, and the leaves on the trees barely gripping on the steep bank scattered around me, like drops of glass in the blowing wind. I slid down a few steps, barely out of reach of the frigid flow, clinging to the stunted branches of the treelets that are climbing the steep slope. The air smelt like crispness of spring and the dampness of earth slowly waking up; the sleepy plants sending out tentative shoots to drink the long awaited warmth and light of the Brother Sun, who emerged shyly from behind the dancing Cloud People.

The Elder Sister Wind changed direction suddenly, and instead of the perfume of new growth, came the icy smell of snowmelt and dank, rotting, wood and leaves, from the rivulets that jumped and danced down the rocky face of the Great Stone Pillars that holds up the Sky. What moments before seemed like promise of life, now seemed like the foreboding of Death to come.

But the river still flowed, regardless of the smell of Death and Decay. Slowy, the running, dancing rivulets of water pushed off the pile rotting dank vegetation into the river, who swallowed it whole then spat it back out into the waiting roots of the trees climbing the steep bank. Then I noticed, the steep bank that is mostly rock and gravel is being nourished by the gradual trapping of rotting winter vegetation that comes down with the spring rivulets. From which sprang the climbing trees, whose spindly branches I now held in my cold, numb, hand. The stunted growth is exploding with tightly wrapped summer buds, just waiting to emerge. The promise of Life and Hope, from the wreckage of Death and Decay.

I understood now, why the River calls to me.