Alive, ALIVE

The brief springlike interlude is fading into more rain and falling temps, but for the moment, flowers and overwintered red things (jury’s still out on what they are) keep spreading and blooming.  Today a hyacinth opened.  Misu was out gamboling and lallygagging, i.e. frolicking and lounging.  We bought me a couple of awesome garden tools today, so I’m armed and dangerous, weather allowing.  Meanwhile, my expanding indoor seedling farm is taking over the place.  I’m chomping at the bit, as one does in Feb./March.  I realize how boring these posts are, but it’s what I do, watch things grow.  It keeps me alive, not just existing.


It was in the 70s today! More flowers are emerging.  Next week it’s supposed to go down in the teens.  Crazy climate change.

I got more hacking done in the garden, while Misu hunted down rodents, defending them against “Joey”, and inevitably depositing one right outside the back door.  She is one serious mouser.  Or more technically, vole-er.

Meanwhile, E was riveted to the Michael Cohen testimony before the House oversight committee.  One can only hope the slimy trump is brought to justice as a result, but we all know how that works.

In Farming News

Yesterday it was in the 60s, so Misu and I got a lot of gardening done.  I turned over the whole compost pile, took wagonloads of it to the veg garden, and spread it on top.  Misu had fun rolling in the dust, making sure it was nice and friable.  Then I cleaned up the compost corner and got it ready for more, with Misu supervising.  She even test-rode the wagon.  Then she rested from all the hard work and had a drink.  As did I.

I’m realizing how out of shape and easily tired I get now.  There’s no way I could have gone back to my hort job or lasted long there, after five years of forced sedentary existence in NJ.  By now it would be out of the question.  I get exhausted from just one day of moderate exertion.  It only makes me more determined to keep at it.  With help from Misu, of course.

Today is supposed to reach almost 70°, so you know where I’ll be.  Especially since it’s supposed to start raining and then freezing for a week.  This volatile roller coaster of a climate is very disconcerting.  It’s somewhat like its human counterparts down here, who can be deceptively warm and friendly on the surface, but then turn around and prove to be cold and intolerant.  It takes some getting used to.

Garden Therapy

It was a sunny 55°, so I turned over the whole veg garden, adding another section while I was at it.  Next I’ll add my homemade compost, then some other soil amendments, to prep it for direct sowing, and later, my seedling transplants.

Misu was out there “helping”, i.e. lurking in the winter kale and growling at “Joey”.  At one point just her head was sticking out of a bunch of kale, very funny looking!

The grape hyacinth is popping up, though it’s hard to get a good picture of it.  Also the ubiquitous crocuses, and those pretty little blue flowers that are probably an invasive weed, but I still like them.

After the Gusher

Much of the surrounding area is still under a flood watch and submerged after all the rain and runoff, but fortunately we’re starting to dry out a little.  Many of the roads here don’t have adequate or any storm drainage, and the clay soil just holds water, so streams and ditches turn into raging rivers with nowhere to go.  People’s basements are flooded, and new roofs are leaking.

While we were battened down, more plant life was emerging out in the rain, such as these maple flowers, more daffodils and crocuses, and hyacinth buds.  Here’s Misu grazing on grass, glad to be out in the sun for a change.

E braved cave-crawling under the house to see if some serious issues in the house infrastructure, such as the shower floor sinking, can be addressed.  The chaotic nightmare she found was beyond belief.  You can’t even access the crawl space for all the tangle of hanging electric wires and a maze of pointless pipes.  Whoever worked on this house before didn’t know or care what they were doing, something we encounter a lot down here.  It’s frustrating, but we’ll deal with each challenge one step at a time, as funds allow.

Live from the Laboratory

Wow, I never knew pretreating and preparing native wildflower seeds for germinating could be so complicated!

There’s dry cold stratification, hot water treatment, cold moist stratification (for varying lengths of time), various combinations of cold/warm/cold strat for long periods before you can even think of germination, scarification, inoculation, parasitic species requiring host plants… and while you’re waiting to rotate all your currently germinating veg/flower/herb seeds to make room for all the above, you have to store the wildflower seeds properly.  And then of course there’s no guarantee that your wildflowers will germinate for years, or for that matter, ever!

OMG, how do people juggle it all?!  And this is after having ruthlessly reduced my seed orders to the ones I just couldn’t do without!  I still have veg seeds waiting their turn to be started indoors at the proper times, stratifying seed flats taking up space in the fridge, and already-germinated seedlings that will have to play musical chairs to make room.  Eventually I’ll have to transplant some to bigger pots and find room for them until they can go outside.  It’s like a chess game, only with living, perishable pieces.

I know, obviously people have been doing this for generations, but I guess this is the first time I’ve been in a position to even approximate suitable growing conditions.  It’s a learning curve, but it’s definitely educational.  I guess you can teach an old fart new tricks.

Misu says, “What’s the big deal?  It’s simple, just feed me!”  Maybe she’s got the right idea.

A Month of Forty Days

For the shortest month of the year, this sure seemed like the longest.  Maybe it’s the 40 days and 40 nights of Extreme Deluge, I don’t know.

But what’s this?!  A strangely glowing orb rising in the east, reflecting in all the rivers and ponds that used to be our yard!  Misu took one look and literally galloped into the east.  Birds are actually venturing out again.  Spring bulb flowers are bursting out of the puddles.

It’s like a swamp out there, but that’s nothing compared to the scenes of nearby towns submerged under rushing rivers.  Fortunately we’re on a hill, with no basement.  Others weren’t so lucky.

Rain is nice, but be careful what you wish for, in these days of climate change.  Weather has two settings now, Extreme and Catastrophic.  This wasn’t the latter, but it could easily go there with no warning.

TN is Drowning!

Help, we suddenly live in a wetlands!  I love wetlands when they’re naturally occurring, but this is unnatural.  Misu insisted on going out in the rain, but then she was like, I don’t like this much water!  I can’t swim!!

My hort colleagues have never seen anything like this here.  This quantity of rainfall is definitely abnormal for this area, and is undoubtedly due to human-caused climate change.  They believe the planting zones will shift hotter eventually, and plant and animal life will be affected in serious ways.

That’s why it’s important to plant native trees and plants, because they’re used to having to adjust to all kinds of extreme environmental changes, and have evolved here to provide food and shelter for local indigenous wildlife.  Whereas exotic invasives smother and destroy natural habitats that support the whole interconnected web of life, which we humans depend on to survive.

But try and tell this to the morons in power who are undermining our world beyond the point of no return.  All I can do as a powerless individual is contribute my little part in restoring my immediate environment to a more natural state.  And resist the tendency to give up hope.


Rain, More Rain, Additional Rain, Extreme Flooding, i.e., TN

Here’s how you tell it’s a “normal” Feb. Friday in TN: my son is here working, there’s a new challah by E, it’s still raining with no letup in sight, spring bulb flowers are taking over the whole lawn, Misu is bored to death staring out at the rain, my veg and wildflower seedlings are on stilts, and I’m so housebound, I even made cupcakes.  The yard is turning into a swamp; it’s squishy when you try to walk anywhere.  I guess it beats freezing to death.

I was actually too busy yesterday to post, so this one will have to do.



Sphinx on Drugs

Misu spent yesterday high as a kite!  She was at the vet bright and early to get spayed and vaccinated.  When they had her sedated, they discovered she had been spayed already, possibly by a rescue!  So not only did Misu get the benefit of a deep nap without the pain, but we got to pay a lot less, which really helped at this time, with all our other expenses.  Here she is in a zombie state, just sitting there like a sphinx on drugs!

Today it’s thunder-storming like a MythBusters explosion right outside the window, while our car is undergoing an all-day procedure of its own, this one very expensive but overdue.  The good news is, being retired we have nowhere else to be, and no disposable income to spend on more frivolous endeavors.  So it all works out.