Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
He went out (and came in almost instantly) about 12 times this morning before I finally hauled him out to the backyard and chucked him on the snow. Then we cruel heartless humans followed him around with a camera (and maybe a little laughter) while he gingerly waded around. I admire his resolve: when he needs to pee at 3am he has no compunction in waking ANYONE up to let him out; when he needs to pee and it's snowing? That cat has a bladder to match, well, to match a Super Bladder.
Balancing act on last year's echinacea.
Look at those top hats.
Coral bark maple, gleaming redly in its coat of snow.
Thunderous looking skies in one direction - sun in the other direction. Make up your mind, sky!
Glancing off the side of the deck. Very atmospheric, although we've already brought in two sparrows on their last legs (both have since died). Poor sparrows, I think the cold was too sudden for their old bodies.
Life on the coast - very unpredictable.
Monday, February 21, 2011
It's also a delight to wake up and see the sunrise coming earlier and earlier. In December we were doing our morning Read Alouds in utter darkness, which was wonderfully atmospheric with Christmas washing up against our literary prow (The Box of Delights, The Tomten, The Dark is Rising), but after Christmas it was just plain bleak. Chilly, bleak, and lit only by the harsh glare of the dining room light. Now we're reading Eagle of the Ninth, punctuated by the light of the sun streaming in and making periodic rainbows through the glass pendants on the windows. It reminds me of those religious record commercials they used to have on the TV when I was little, the ones with the single piercing streak of sunlight, breaking through some deep cloud, with songs like "He Loves You" or "God Is Near" playing in the background in all its exaggerated sentiment. When we were kids we used to scream with laughter at these commercials, because they appealed to the Inner Diva in us. I mentioned these commercials to my kids to see what they'd make of them and they all looked at me blankly, no doubt shocked at how WEIRD television used to be, then Max said "Um, what do you mean by RECORD commercials? You were around when they had RECORDS?"
Then, instead of feeling just plain odd I felt odd AND old.
Another subject for the camera is this cat. He matches the floors so perfectly we tend to stop and exclaim over this as well, as in "WOW! Toffee is the SAME COLOUR as the floors!" We all say the same thing. We all repeat it. Over and over again, with the same note of surprise each time. And I have yet to hear someone - anyone - say "You've said that four billion times already, Mum!"
Does this mean that we are all easily thrilled?
Here he is, in all his winter fatness. I've even blogged about it before but I'm a little ashamed to link the posts. Not too ashamed to tell you but I won't go so far as to actually SHOW you them. Even I have some my limits.
(pick your jaw up off the floor)
Anyhow, I spent my weekend, because it was so warm and sunny, digging in the garden and trying to lure the cat over to where I was working. Yes, the very same cat you see above in the photo. MY cat, I feel compelled to point out. He is, tragically, a cat of VERY little brain. We also think he has issues with context. When we're inside all winter he knows who we are, because he can place us; when we go outside all of a sudden he gets spooked and forgets that we too can be outside in the garden AT THE SAME TIME as him. So he runs away and cowers in the Cat Tunnels at the end of the yard, wondering how these scary imposters could be in the back yard AT THE SAME TIME as the Real People in his house. Sigh.
This is what used to be the Garlic Bed, but because I have turned over a new leaf and am now going to rotate my crops in a serious fashion, it's lost its moniker and is now going to be Just Another Bed. Why am I going to rotate my crops, you ask? I never used to, but that was mostly because we used to move around so much that I never needed to think about the Rotating of Crops. Now that we've actually - gulp - purchased a house AND live in it, I've got to think about such things if I want to avoid exhausted soil and plant diseases. So rotate I will.
After I forked around in the Former Garlic Bed, I repositioned my Fancy Schmancy Hoop House and planted some lettuce seeds inside it. Yes, it IS still cold here, but this is a protected area of the yard and dry enough that the seeds won't rot as they wait for warmer weather.
Then I laid on the ground and took some photos of the miniature irises. They too are so eminently photographic.
These irises are about 6" tall. Tiny little things and so wonderfully blue. I can see though that I am going to have to divide them a bit, because they are squished, and because they are squished they are smaller than usual.
Along with all the sunrise photos in my iPhoto folder I also have a fair number of sunset photos. For obvious reasons.
And thus ends the weekend detailings of Sheila. Hope your weekend was just as enjoyable, although do me a favour: if you don't know what records are, don't ask me to explain...
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Check this link. Pink, eh?
Dominic chose this for his garden two years ago and while it was almost mildly amusing at the time - barring visits from squirrels, birds, bugs, and wind - we never grew it again because of the travails we'd had. I'd forgotten how much space corn needs, and Dominic had no idea he'd have to wrap the cobs in tinfoil to um, well, FOIL the squirrels, and by the time the summer was over and we could harvest the stuff all we had to show for our stealth, doggedness, frustration, and perseverance were two cobs. Two measly cobs - which took up a 2' by 3' space - and so, once we'd dried the cobs and removed the kernels, I tucked them into a cup and put them on a shelf somewhere. Periodically, when I was clearing up, I'd come across them, then tuck them away again, convinced that any experience with popping them would be just as frustrating as it was growing them...
Until yesterday. I was popping corn when I came across the cup of pink kernels. They looked dry and, dare I admit, OLD. But I poured them into the air popper and wonder of wonders they all popped. And here they are, gleaming rather whitely in their bowl.
Don't know that we'll grow them again, but it was a wonderfully redeeming end to an experience that was a little TOO fraught with irritations.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
I don't know why, perhaps because I'm still in recovery mode from Christmas, but seed planting season always, and I mean always, takes me by surprise. So it was with a sense of surprise that I noticed on the West Coast chart that we could be planting certain seeds NOW. Yes, NOW.
So we did. Here are the twins, busily filling pots. I gave them each a tray, a cut off bottom of a paper cup (I just had these left over from another project but you could use a yogurt cup), and some popsicle sticks and a Sharpie. First they filled all the little pots with soil and dampened it a bit. We have a very fine plastic nozzle attached to a pop bottle (you might have them in your garden centres like we do, for about 25¢). Then we formed an assembly line: I put 25 seeds into their cup, and wrote the name of the plant on the requisite number of popsicle sticks. They divided them up into the flats, covered with more soil, and stuck in the plant label.
Then I dragged an old greenhouseslashgardencrap storage unit from outside, where it was reposing mouldily, into the basement and we laid out the heating mats and grow lights (I was thrilled to see full spectrum grow light bulbs in the garden centre this year - if you have old lamp plugs and wiring lying around it makes for a cheaply fast grow light fixture). Placed the trays on the shelving unit and VOILA! or, as a witty friend of mine likes to say VIOLA! (which, considering the topic of this post, is rather more apt don't you think?).
I know it's the season for Seedy Saturdays but I never seem to get to them. Well, amend that, I did once but I was kind of put off by the atmosphere. I went expecting a lot of gardeners and mostly bumped into a lot of Trendy Garden Marketers hawking expensive stuff. So now I stick to garden centres and books, although this year I made more effort to buy Open Pollinated plants so I could save more seed.
Just in case you're wondering (or if you're nosy like me), here's a list of things we planted this week:
Basil: West Coast Seeds Genovese
Bells of Ireland: Renee's Garden Antique Apple Green
Broccoli: West Coast Seeds Purple Sprouting Red Arrow
Calendula: Seeds of Change Orange Zinger
Hollyhock: Livingston Seed Co. Peaches 'N' Dreams
Kale: West Coast Seeds Rainbow Tuscan
Lettuce: Renee's Garden Merveille de Quatre Saisons
Marigold: Seeds of Change Moonlight
Mescluns: West Coast Seeds Corn Salad
(Stinging) Nettle: Richter's (no laughing now, but it seeds ridiculously well and I am planning a Mega-Ginormous Nettle Patch in the back end of the garden, for tea)
Perennial Sunflowers: Renee's Garden Prairie Maximilian
Phacelia: West Coast Seeds
Spinach: Sunshine Farm Bloomsdale