Sunday, December 31, 2006

Land of Confusion...I took my son and his girlfriend to a metal concert for Christmas, and the band Disturbed sang their version of that Phil Collins song. (It was awesome, and the only song I knew all the words to-guess I'm officially "old"). This title describes my garden as well. If you want signs of winter you have to look hard, and they are positioned right next to signs of spring....not exactly happy to see this much green in December...odd for a gardener I suppose. I just can't help but feel this global warming is a real bummer!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

My koi figurine came in, so little by little I'm getting my new bonsai set up somewhat. (Mostly temporarily until spring, when re-potting and pruning can take place.) The koi is really quite adorable and well painted...I got it online at, they had an extensive collection, and it was very reasonably priced. Now I just need some rocks to add to the humidity tray, and this serissa can just hang out for the rest of the winter. Then in the spring, I can repot it and get more creative...perhaps try persuading it to a root-over-rock style. The more I read about and consider traditional bonsai "rules", the more I want to regard it all as "suggestions" and veer off into my own set of style and culture parameters...this could get messy....;)

Tabletop Oyster Mushroom Farm Update...fruiting has slowed (as it naturally does after initial harvest), but I got to harvest a couple more. The "fuzz" growing up the "tent sticks" which concerned me before aren't interfering with anything thus

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another scene from my "Brown Christmas"...this is a Christmas fern, and it was green for Christmas! This is just too weird!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Here is the scene I was hoping for on Christmas day....nope! Still brown mush....*sigh*...oh well, guess I'll just turn my attention to my indoor projects and daydreaming about spring garden plans. Mushroom and bonsai updates to come....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bonsai update-I decided to add mosses to the top of the juniper soil, and covered them slightly with plastic wrap to hold in moisture initially. Then while waiting for my koi decoration, I found this little toy that my nephew left here. While he may not be the usual type of figurine you see, I ask this not the face of a "Bonsai Warrior"?

Monday, December 18, 2006

One last bonsai accessory purchase...made a trip to to get soil, humidity trays, screen (to line pot holes and retain soil), fertilizer/minerals, and 'wound paste' (seals prunings so they heal properly). Now I feel prepared! But then right away, I realize my new humidity trays are too small for my new juniper, so I went outside and pulled this old enamel tray out of my 'junk collection'...hmmm.."hillbilly bonsai"? Well, I gotta add my own "flair", right? So I fill the tray with water to maintain humidity (I'm told even the conifers need this), but it looks like something's missing....aha! Small statue of some kind! So I got back online, and ordered a small ceramic koi to place in the water by the pot. Until then, I need to keep this tree in a fairly cool spot with a lot of sun, as this tree is considered "outdoor bonsai" too-but I bought it from a guy in TX, it's December in Wisconsin, so this baby's staying in til' spring!

More Bonsai Goodies...with the help of Ebay and alcohol, I have accumulated more bonsai accessories to help launch my newest garden hobby. Mosses and grasses to plant with the trees, tool kit to help shape trees, juniper with the pot (said to be 9 years old already), serissa tree for indoor bonsai starter (I love the exposed roots, think I'll try it as a "root over rock" bonsai). Now to acquire a few more supplies...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chuck B. over at Episodic Whoreticulture was blogging about some items found while cleaning his grandparent's house. Some were toiletry items, and I'd suggested a shadow box display (or Ebay) as opposed to discarding them. So I decided to post a picture of the one I made...some are items in "junk boxes" acquired at auctions, some from my friend's grandparent's house, some just found along the way. I certainly don't consider this any sort of professional-type artwork, but it makes me smile when I see it, and I think that's what "home decor" is all about...(in my house, anyway).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Confession of a lazy gardener...much as I do love the snow, there is one project I wanted to slip in before the ground was covered. These bags and packets are all "fall" seeds, mostly wildflowers and grasses, that I wanted to mix and sow. They all need a cold period to break dormancy in the spring, so I need to do this asap...likely this weekend. (Temps in the low 40's are forecasted to persist at least that long.) I have 4 different areas where I plan to scatter these, in a couple varieties of mixture, and they will be combined with sand to assist with broadcasting. Here's where I divert from the proper planting technique, because I do not plan to "prepare the soil", get rid of existing weeds, etc. Nope, just sprinkle and hope-that's the lazy gardener way! Hey, it's worked in the past...I scattered some valerian seeds, and only 2 years later, one grew! (See, if you plan to be lazy, you must have patience as well.) Although I plan to start some seeds indoors this year, typically seeds piss me off and refuse to grow when I "do things right". So to hell with that-sprinkle and hope, toss em' and forget, this is my preferred method of propagation by seed!

Time to ring the wormy dinner bell....I'm sure these pics will be out of order (because I'm a blog-tard), but here's the order of events-first, I added half moistened moss, half moistened packing paper from my bonsai purchase. Then I put shredded newspaper in dry, then misted it with water. Next came food scraps, and although there are big pieces, they were frozen then thawed-this breaks down the cellular structure and helps the worms chow down easier. Then I sprinkled two used coffee filters and grounds over that (shredding the filters), sprinkled crushed, rinsed eggshells over that. Lastly, I covered all with a layer of moistened it's up to the wormies!

Wednesday Worm Inspection...looks really good in there! Hard to tell from this image (because my camera sucks), but a couple worms are visible, bin smells normal and "earthy", and no worms were observed on the sides or near the lid trying to escape. I dug around in the whole thing, and the moisture seems right, worms look happy-awesome! Think I'll add some more food and bedding....

Another Warm it's foggy and in the low 40's! So instead of pretty white snow, we have gooey brown mush-bummer! See, I love snow...that's why I moved up here from Indiana-more far my winter has been way too Indiana-ish. Before I came here, I'd applied for a job in Fairbanks, Alaska-now there's a place with snow! Their growing season is too short, though, so ultimately I believe this is a better place for me. But dang, I want some real snow! Plus I'm jonesing to go ice fishing, and this weather is not helping...

Mushroom Farm Update-after two yummy harvests, growth has slowed a bit. My house is pretty dry, which doesn't help, despite the plastic bag kept over the top to hold in moisture. (Except when I'm looking at it like this.) And what's this white fuzz growing up the sticks and out the bottom of the bag? I hope it's not some sinister "mushroom killer"....think I'll fire off an email to Field and Forest to see what they say, since they sold it to me. Already planning a recipe for the next harvest, so I hope the "fuzz" doesn't interfere!

Friday, December 08, 2006

New project-bonsai! I have always wanted to try this, and for some reason, I have extra "garden envy/frustration" left over this here goes! I bought this kit for what I consider way too much (about $100 bucks-don't drink and surf the web!)...and the pot was broken! I called the guy, and he agreed to send a new pot, but informed me I bought an "outdoor specimen" (dwarf alberta spruce), and instructed me to put the tree outside! So much for a winter project! But that's what I get for not doing my homework first, and allowing impulse to rule (or alcohol...whatever...) So after more research/alcohol...and Ebay...more plants and supplies are coming! More info later....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

-10 Wind Chill!! Winter's blasted in, full force too! Very windy and bitter cold...the river's already floating ice chunks. Some people are even talking about ice fishing by the weekend, but I'll wait awhile for sure. I only fish small lakes, but I want the ice a bit thicker. Never would I fish on this river in winter, even though it's conveniently located in my back yard. The current is much too strong,,,open water areas remain in even the coldest weather. Every year up here about a dozen people die falling thru the ice...I'll not be part of that club, thank you! I mean, how preventable is that?!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I don't plan to decorate for Christmas. I usually do, but this year, I'm just not in to it. So instead of blogging about my Christmas decorations, I thought I'd show my dad's barracks when he was overseas in the Korean War. My dad's been gone 20 years now, but I still miss him. My nephew was in Iraq, but luckily came home just fine. So Merry Christmas to everyone a little too, dad.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Harvest on day 5! Look at these gorgeous mushrooms! I harvested the biggest ones, and sauteed them with garlic in olive oil...yummy! There will be plenty more over the next few days, so I'm looking up all the recipies I want to try. This has been such a blast, when this kit stops fruiting, I want to try another variety! I'll garden one way or another all winter...heck, it'll be seed starting time soon enough, too.