Sunday, March 30, 2008

My baby is 25!! This happened a few days ago but I'm still proud mama... ..and these are some of my favorite pics....can you tell they're not digital? (And my scanner sucks?)

Ah well...awesome milestone, just the same! :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Cardboard castle....from my new Aerogarden, and the cats are really diggin' it! Not exactly decorative, but when I'm tired of it then guilt-free recycling will make it disappear. (Plus the price was right!) Gizmo loves to play with this super ball, but Bentley seems to be keeping it close. This calls for a new strategy...
....sneak around the back and just casually "stretch"....not trying to steal the ball, of course...., I don't think so, Gizmo....
.....okay then, let's play together. Good kitties!

Submitted to Friday Ark.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


This is the point of the following email I got yesterday:

Dear Lisa,

This week Mother Jones magazine released the article Mulch Madness about Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Dean Wilson’s efforts to stop the illegal and unsustainable cutting of cypress for cheap mulch. Right now the cypress mulch industry is destroying wetlands that protect coastal Louisiana from hurricanes. The article is online at:
Waterkeeper has been working with Dean and organizations across the Gulf Coast to save our cypress forests. We’ve made great progress. In June 2007, more than 200 Louisiana cities, universities, churches and other organizations
pledged to stop using cypress mulch.
Month later, Wal-Mart and Lowes announced they would stop or limit buying and selling cypress mulch from Louisiana. This is a great start but the threat remains. We have a long way to go to stop the mulching of the nation’s coastal wetland forests.
Our gardeners hold the key. We believe that gardeners must know the truth about cypress mulch, and will stop using cypress mulch when presented with the facts.
Again, thank you for your help spreading the word: Say NO to Cypress Mulch. I am also happy to provide more information for you.
Bana Malik

Bana Malik
Communications Associate
Waterkeeper Alliance
50 S. Buckhout St., Ste 302
Irvington, NY 10533
914.674.0622 x23

Interesting! I never realized that cypress trees were cut just to make mulch. I figured the mulch was a byproduct of lumber scraps from other uses for cypress. So I sent her this reply:

Dear Bana,
Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention! I will make a post to my garden blog to help get the word out. I actually used to prefer cypress mulch, until I discovered a flush of tasty and edible morelle mushrooms after using oak chips for mulch. Now I ONLY use oak! :) But I see so many gas stations selling pallets full of cypress...not good!
Thank you again,

True story about the mushrooms showing up from my oak mulching! I use the "mini-nugget" oak mulch from Menard's, and although it's not as colorful or fragrant as cypress, I find it appears more natural in my gardens. (Plus if it has morelle spore, yippie!) The same day, I got this reply:

Dear Lisa,

Thank you so much for your note. We’re so happy to have your support.

It is wonderful that you found an alternative to Cypress. We came across a study that the University of Florida did which found cypress mulch to be no better than pine bark/needles/straw or even leaf litter.

Our friends in Louisiana have followed many of the operators from source to product illegally cutting down cypress forests at the expense of our precious coastal wetlands. If you are interested in speaking to anyone in person, or need more information, do let me know. Thank you again Lisa, we deeply appreciate your help!



So here's the post I promised. When I visited the Waterkeepers web site, I found that they are involved in many conservation efforts. Now, in the past, I may have scoured the web to be sure I agree with all of this groups' tactics. I don't like how some groups mix in various anti-hunting tactics with their other politics (I even took a dislike to Jimmy Buffett based on an old boyfriend's assertion that Jimmy is anti-hunting.) But I'm not so hard-core anymore...people don't have to agree with everything I do, either! Plus I'm not donating cash at this point, I just want to support the idea of avoiding cypress mulch that's not responsibly manufactured. And since I doubt you can tell by looking at the bag, it's just as easy to stop using it altogether. Here's another very interesting link I found: . Anybody else have a take on this?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is spring really here? Right about now I'm wondering if somebody misplaced it or something, at least for us in the northern midwest. Now, I realize that it was me who began the year wishing for "more", which is why I'm here lamenting my big mouth! Sure, there has been some melting...

...even the sun looks different-there's a "rainbow" circling the sun. (May be hard to see in this image). Update:This is actually a halo ...thanks Karen! :)
And check this was actually warm enough for this brave insect to trek across the snow!
This cute fern is native and mostly evergreen anyway, but I'll take any show of green right now!
Now this is green in earnest! Heuchera trying to be alive, right next to the melting snow..."A+"!!
Even the "old west" cactus garden is re-appearing. This is gonna get a major makeover this year, and hopefully there will be some evidence of actual cacti in the "cactus garden".

My blue rug juniper is showing a little green, too....
...even yucca is beginning to rally!
You can really tell where the deer trail is...time to spray the Liquid Fence before they find any new growth to chew!
Melting here means ladyslippers are on the way...yay!
But not so fast! Now, I gotta say that I'm no morning person, but to my bleary eyes it looks like there's new snow on the ground...

...getting lighter outside and looking whiter....
....oh yea, the road didn't look like this yesterday....
.....and "snow" it goes, back and forth, on and on...I'm beginning to dislike this dance! Thank goodness for my new Aerogarden! Gotta fire that baby up ASAP!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I gone and done it.... nah, I didn't ship the cats out. Giz and Bentley are checking out the box that came for me...

...and helping me open it...'s an Aerogarden!

I'd been cruising Ebay for awhile, trying to get a full-sized Aerogarden for around $100 (they retail for $149 for the standard model), and I finally did it! Included are the instructions and everything... ...Gizmo is certain I'm forgetting something.."What about catnip seeds?""Look, I know you bought this for me where's the catnip seed?"
The more I try and reason with him, the more insistent he is (maybe there was some catnip in this box ;-)

Now I just have to figure out which seeds I want to start in here. It came with an "herb kit", but I also bought the "Master Gardener Deluxe Seed Kit" with a bunch of pods to plant your own seeds in. Decisions, decisions!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Aw man, he fell asleep on the remote! I'll just slip it out quietly... ....or maybe not.
Fine then, we won't watch Dog Whisperer! Submitted to Friday Ark.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bloom Day bloom! Posted late, but I have good reasons for that. Sure, this is in the house, but I'll take it! I got this nice little hyacinth to force as a Christmas gift, and had it in the fridge until I saw growth about a week ago. I wish y'all could smell it, it is divine!
My carnivorous plants are continuing to improve, too....
.....even the cute little volunteer mushroom is maturing nicely. And if you enlarge this picture, you can see that my sundew caught itself a couple gnats...sweet!
And the lithops are coming along nicely, although they look funny. According to a website: "Lithops should be left totally dry throughout winter and spring. During this period the plant will generate a new body (or pair of bodies). The new body will consume the moisture and nutrients of the previous body as it completes its growth. This process should be visible by early spring. Throughout the winter and spring keep the plants cool but avoid freezing. Watering can commence once the remains of the old plant body are shriveled and drying." Cool!
Especially since indoor plants are all I get right now. More snow... ...and a cardinal! Sorry it's blurry, but it was taken through a window and I was excited! Many of you see these on a regular basis, but not me. This is only the third cardinal I've seen in 9 years living in this house. I see them in town, so I don't know if there are too many raptors out here for their liking, or what.
Despite the melting, I still have plenty of snow on the ground to drive birdy customers to my feeders...

.....even some seed heads left (I don't think birds eat sedum seeds).
Guess what else I had for Bloom Day? Vertigo! *sigh* For the third time in the last year, and really bad this time! I can usually function with meds for dizziness, but I awoke with it this time, and nausea was too severe to keep the meds down...kind of a "chicken/egg" thing.
Finally back to work after several days feeling "froggy" like this....
...I hope that's it for illness, cuz' when spring finally explodes onto the scene, I need to be ready!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"I am not fat! I'm big-boned!"

Submitted to Friday Ark...better late than never! ;-)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Carnivorous complications...visible in the upper right corner, my butterwort is moldy! First, remove it so nobody else suffers...
....clear the bad foliage, and new growth is visible-cool!
But a week or so later, not so much. Rats! Another look at the others, and now one of the fly traps is suffering, too. I did have them in too little sunlight for awhile after I bought them, so the problem here is likely me.......this situation looks pretty bad.......but at least this one is making a comeback. The sundew looks decent, with only a little die-off...
...after a tidying they all go back to try and recover.
A few days later, a peek at the sick flytrap-no new growth yet (although the moss is greening up)... for the sundew, he has a new roomate!
Look at this cute little mushroom! I'd say the humidity in here is adequate for sure...see the sticky droplets on the sundew's "hairs"? Awesome! And the green flytrap looks a lot happier! When they say that flytraps need full sun, they are not kidding!

Still no new growth on the butterwort (struggling in quarantine elsewhere) or the other flytrap, but 3 out of 5 ain't bad for a carnivorous beginner! (Heh...says me ;-)