Thursday, May 31, 2007

Worm bin update, atop the food layer, I added the coffee from 56 used filters... ...then sprayed it with 31 oz. water from my handy little sprayer....
.....topped the wet stuff with 3 cups of my pre-mixed "fattening" feed. That's enough for now, I'll check back on them in a few days to mix things up and re-check moisture levels. I got about 2 cups of leachate from the very bottom bin with only one drowned worm...not too shabby! Until next time, wormikins! P.S.-if you'd like more worm bin details, feel free to search my labels section under "worm bin" has the lowdown from bin construction til' now! :)

Worm bin checkup (finally!).....believe it or not, I haven't looked in on my wormy friends since late March! Good thing they're such low-maintenance pets! So here's the sight when I opened the looked and felt like earth. Not just dirt, but textured, moist middle-earth, y'know, Lord of the Rings-type stuff! Cool! So I dig around for tenants, and here they are! Not huge, but not as small as what I started with, so the "fattening mix" must be working to an extent. All looked lively and not deformed or anything...goodie!
So after I dug around and inspected to my satisfaction, time to add some new layers...first, finely shredded paper from a box of something I got in the mail...
....then a layer of paper I shredded myself...
....and now for some food scraps. These were previously frozen then thawed (breaks down the cellular structure and makes it more quickly available to the worms).....continued next post....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Miscellaneous we have signs of life from the bare-root plants from Spring Hill....
...and even the Michigan Bulb stuff is making progress (except for those poor 'Golden Marguerite' daisies).And what's this? More stuff coming up in my "winter-sowing" pots-awesome! This is 'winged monkey flower'...I need to do some thinning!
Uh-oh! Looks like we got us a full-blown algae bloom going in this left water garden tub! I'd better skim it out and add some barley extract pronto! (Suppose it has anything to do with the fertilizer tablets I put in 3 of the plant pots on this side? D'oh!! ;)Rain, rain, come and stay...we could use more precip! In the meantime, out goes the sprinkler...I like to put down this tuna can to measure the amount...even when I hand-water, because I want to be sure I'm doing enough good!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Lady is becoming a son's dog, (a.k.a. My grand-puppy) is experiencing a life-changing event at the tender age of 6 months. Normally, she is very rambunctious.......and like any puppy, mouth-oriented...

....even downright bitey! I mean, ouch!.....but nowadays, since she came into her first heat, she just kinda lays around, looking like this....
....and awaiting her "gentleman callers"....yea, and this is as close as she'll get (for about a month, anyhow!). *Sigh*.....they grow up so fast!
One last plant order...because I'm not busy enough! ;) Anyhow, I found this company, Autumn Ridge, while searching for echinacea online, and I thought I'd give them a try. After all, their prices are crazy cheap, and shipping is only $6.50 for any size order! So I got 'Sunrise' echinacea, 'Kim's Knee High' echinacea, 'Summer Kiss' gaillardia, and 'Gold Crown' peony. The echinaceas and gaillardia were only $2.95 each, and the peony was $7.95! For these prices I didn't expect much, but look-the echinaceas are bare-root and kinda small, but I got multiples!!! Five plants for $2.95!! And they're certainly no smaller than the stuff I got from Michigan Bulb, and much more appropriately priced! Again multiple plants! They sent me 4-5 crowns of everything I ordered!
Except for the peony, which had two. It also has a very non-herbaceous peony look...hmmm...oh well-if it blooms and is pretty, who cares! So as far as I'm concerned, Autumn Ridge is my new favorite "broke-ass but still want to buy plants" nursery: great prices and cheap shipping charges, small plants but you get multiples and they already have signs of life, so I can deal with that!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Scenes from the weekend....since there's no such thing as too much fun, here's some of mine from the much-anticipated holiday: snowdrops are supposed to be "early spring bloomers"....guess mine are "June Drops"! This 'Midland Shooting Star' is also a "spring bloomer"...hey, I'm just glad to see flowers no matter what!
Then this lovely miniature peony, 'Little Song' is right on time and super cute!
And here we have a "Mayfly" (I think-not a super-informative blog all the time, but I'm a tad drunk, so slack is in order! ; )...I've never really paid attention before, but as of June 1st, will they be gone?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fragrant I picked some honeysuckle and lilac branches for myself, and boy do they smell nice! The lilacs were planted intentionally, but the honeysucle are both wild volunteers...I feel lucky to have 2 different colors; dark purple and a pink/white combo-cool! I really enjoy "wild surprises", so here's my question:

anybody else have any awesome "surprise plants" yet this year?
Another order has arrived....this one from my friends at Plant Delights, and as usual, they sent me nice stuff! This hosta, 'Stitch in Time', was my "tennis bracelet" purchase, my reward to myself (for what, I don't know)'s a newer cultivar and more expensive ($50). The other plants were more reasonable... ...geranium 'Anne Thomson' with yellow foliage (not so much yet, but it will be)....

....meehania montis-koyae, 'Honshu Wood Mint'. It's listed as "zone 6-7 guessing", but really cute and said to like cool weather (I have that), and from Japan (they get snow too), so I'm giving it a try. The other plant I got from them was lespedeza thunbergii 'Spilt Milk' variegated bush clover. Sorry no pic-it's really nice-sized, too! I wind up ordering from these folks pretty much every year, they've got such unusual stuff, and always send nice specimens! Next year, I want to make a bog garden and order lots of cobra's a sickness! (For which I want no cure, BTW!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Fringed Polygala (polygala paucifolia)....or as I like to call it, "cute-ass wildflower", is coming up in my yard right now. It's my early submission to " Wednesday Bloom Day", and I can claim zero responsibility for it. Sure, I'd buy and try it if I could, but I just love that it's here on it's own!According to my National Audubon Guide, it's a member of the Milkwort family, and legend used to be that nursing mothers and cows would produce more milk if they consumed milkworts. Hmmm....I dunno...these are pretty small...but pretty, nonetheless! They also refer to it as an "orchid-like wildflower" that I can agree with!
Another plant order arrives...packed in awesome fashion, and downright huge plants! This order came from Forest Farm, and as usual, they sent me great stuff! Their selection is terrific, but shipping can be very expensive. (Although you can see why-no shifting or mangled plants whatsoever!)
This tree is looking cramped, and when I got it out, it was over 4 feet tall! This is gleditsia caspica, Persian Honeylocust...allegedly hardy to zone 6, but I'm giving it a try because locusts in general do very well for me, and I'm stubborn!Look how well they packed the plants! It's nearly a surgical procedure to get them out!
Nice tall boxes, too! So my list of new plants in this shipment is: Korean Barberry, Persian Honeylocust, 'Summer Beauty' Bush Clover, 'Semperflorens' Black Locust, Berberis Prattii, 'Judy' Yellow Trumpet Vine, 'Glauca Pendula' Weeping Blue Wh. Cedar, 3-'Cheyenne' Hardy Privets, and 'Frances' Variegated Elderberry, and ziziphus jujuba- Jujube (I just like saying "ziziphus" :). Yes, I absolutely did get rather carried away ordering plants this year, but they make me happy, and I'm rather self-indulgent ;) . Besides, it's my method of conservation and making my little corner of the planet a good habitat for birds, bees, and the what the heck!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mailorder annuals...may sound kinda crazy, but when you want specific plants and don't have time/space/desire to start your own seeds, then this is the way to go! Nicely packed box from Select Seeds, got them all out to inspect-big and healthy! I wanted "moon garden" night-blooming plants, a neat cut-leaf geranium, plus three geraniums that smell like peppermint and chocolate! Yum! So I put the mailorder plants next to the annuals I bought locally for a size comparison...what do you think? I think my friends at Select Seeds hooked it up!
My "pets" have awakened! I used to be an animal-crazy kid-hamsters, cats, dogs, horses, iguanas, mice, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geckos, snakes-I've had all sorts of creatures as pets. But somehow as I've grown up, I'm not so keen on pets in the house (along with their associated expenses). So now these little guys are my pets, along with the wild birds. And considering how they climb all over everything....
....I'm amazed at how they don't really get into anything. Sure, they like to bury seeds in my planters, which often results in a clustered bunch of sunflowers sprouting out of nowhere. But mostly they just chase each other around, and pose real cute for me...
...I even had one sit right on my foot while I was weeding! He ran a few feet, then turned back to look at me as if to say "Tag-you're it!" Since I feed corn to all squirrels in general, these guys chow down, too........and they even leave me "gifts" for the composter! What considerate little pets I have!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Asparagus....yummy! My asparagus "patch" (kinda small for such a distinction), has fed me just one serving so far.... ...but it was delicious just the same! I will definately need to plant a few more, I think some were damaged when my chimney was knocked down, and I need a bigger harvest. Pretty good start, though!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Daredevil annuals for Wednesday bloom's been threatening to freeze off and on lately, but my desire to get my annuals planted got the best of me last weekend. Geez I hope I don't come to regret it! I wasn't even going to buy any just yet, but I was at Walmart, and, you know.... ;) So it all started with this pretty peach daisy...and I thought "Wow that's pretty! And look at that orange-y geranium, they'd look like sherbert together (I actually don't have a sweet tooth). So I got onto a monochromatic tangent, like colors but different plants. I've never done this before, but the shopping was fun!Once I got them home, I was anxious to get a grouping going, so I started with the daisy and the oranges. Sorry I can't remember all the plants, but I'm not at home right now. (I'll edit them in later.) But there's the daisey plus a small pumpkin-y mum, pansy, marigold, and portulaca plus whatever I cannot remember. These containers may look sparse, but not only are fewer and smaller plants more economical, but I get to watch them grow, and for me that's the whole point. I don't want the super lush, finished look immediately. I want to enjoy the progression, then look around and enjoy the lush results in August. Odd I guess, but I gotta be me! :)

Here I got some red going, with red and white lantana (I think) in the back, petunias, and a pansy. More sparse, but there's a jewelweed seedling in there, which will hopefully take up a lot of room later! I may add something else eventually, too....especially if I'm weak to a good clearence sale!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mason bees hard at work....see the little black bees in the tubes? They're filling them with larvae, and one tube's already full! I just love to see this activity...I always leave the "release box" on the bottom of the nest til' July at least, in case some are slow to emerge from last year's tubes. Then just leave the house up til' September or so, bring it indoors, put the full tubes in the release box, and store it in the fridge til' next spring. When I very first started this, I had two bees hatch in the fridge, likely due to coming from another climate. But for the last 4 years or so, they are on "my schedule", and no more fridge bees. As for the reported "domestic bee die-off", I found this link.... ...over at Phelan's blog, .....and this link suggests that the dying bees are actually over-medicated and fumigated, which is likely the problem because organically raised bees are experiencing no such die-offs. Interesting....have a look....

This concept does not surprise me, and I find it encouraging that a bee die-off is caused by something completely within our control. As for me and mine, it's "organic" all the way!