Friday, March 30, 2007

More signs of Spring...along the road on my way home yesterday, I spotted the wild willows beginning to be covered with, um...blooms. I don't have a pussy willow in my yard, but I like to stop and collect branches from these. Kinda cool how the bright red and yellow branches bloom the same...they look pretty in a vase together.

Then I get home, and who's popping out of the ground?
My old friend Lamium-growing like a rock star! It was one of the last to die back, too...I bet it's fairly evergreen in milder climates. I heard a redwing blackbird the other day, and Monday when it was so warm-I actually got bitten by a mosquito! (How the hell do they wake up so fast, anyway?!) The change of seasons is so just amazes me every year!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

So I'm driving to work this morning, enjoying the pretty sunrise...and I was reminded of Hank over at and his post about just enjoying one's blessings. I am also guilty of taking simple pleasures for granted from time to time, and can be heard whining about my commute. But here are some of the awesome sights I get to enjoy back and forth every is indeed a wonderful life!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

....setting up the water plants....signs of life on all but the cattail, and in my experience from last year it was the last to emerge anyhow. So I found a large plastic tub, set it up next to the kitchen sink, and shazam! Instant water garden! And check this out-full replacement guarantee! Not bad for a Wal-mart buy! (I know I'm's a talent ; )

And so it begins...first impulse buy of the season. So I'm walking through Wal-mart the other day, and I spotted this box, on a shelf away from any live plant material. I had to investigate, because it looked like their were actual live plants in there from the label...and there were! I opened the box to make sure they weren't all dried out-nope! Three water plants for $9.99...okay...why not? (Alright, there are plenty of reasons why not, but none came to mind at that moment.) So I get it home, realizing they can't be outside just yet, but as you all know, I have no aversion to "gardens" in the house...looked at the instruction sheet, and guess who put this kit together? Vanbourgondien and Sons! I've mailordered from these folks before-interesting! Now to get these in some water...

Forget Spring-how about a quick blast of summer?! Record highs in the upper 70's yesterday...felt kinda weird, but I'll take it! When I got home, new growth was everywhere...bulbs, "Surprise Lily" (my mom calls them naked ladies, cuz' the blooms come up "naked" without the foliage)...even this potted Leatherwood fern is awake. I was tempted to uncover more garden areas out in the yard, but I know we'll get more cold I tried burning some brush instead.

I love campfires...reminds me of childhood camping trips. Ever have the smoke seem to "follow" you around the fire pit, no matter where you sit...then some comedian pipes up, "You know, the smoke always follows the asshole" wet to burn I guess. Oh well, the sunset was nice!

Monday, March 26, 2007

All good things must come to an end...I'm afraid it's time to shut down the tabletop oyster mushroom farm. My encouraging show of growth the other day has taken a fairly yucky turn. Open up to see what's going on...the water's yucky...the bag's all furry and beginning to fall apart. No more gnats, but it looks like there won't be any more mushrooms, either. In fact, it appears I now have something akin to an indoor swamp! Fabulous! Oh well, it's off to the composter with you!

First a layer of leaves...then the mushroom farm contents...a layer of snow....bye bye!

Friday, March 23, 2007

If you don't like the weather in Wisconsin, just wait a few least that's what they say up here, and it's true. We had a "Winter Remix" on Monday, then yesterday-signs of life! (Or at least non-death.) Of course the moss is a "ringer", because it stays green always, but I'll take what I can get this time of year!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Okay, two more fuzzies...Bentley and Gizmo here will keep you distracted while I figure out this layout back soon....

We now bring you this's a cute puppy to look at while I try to fix my template....I lost my !%#*! back soon....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Food is where you find snow isn't this deep anymore, but I've been overrun with squirrels lately, and I wanted to share their antics. When I looked out and saw this furry tail sticking up out of the snow, I thought "What the heck is he doing?"...then I remembered there was cracked corn on the ground in that spot, under the snow. Then another hungry squirrel is seen through the screen, figuring out why this cone is called a "baffle". But it's all good, as demonstrated by this poser on top of the arbor, "That's right ladies, I am too sexy for my fur"

Mushroom farm "after the freeze"... first glimpse after the "gnat-eliminating freeze"...low and behold-we have new pinning!! And no more gnats! Seems that the mycelium didn't mind a quick chill, and they are growing again-yay! But what's this fuzz? Not too worried, I did see this before, and the mushrooms matured fine, anyway. But now I see some green mold along the opposite edge of the farm....this may not be a good thing...

Worm bin recheck...
when we last visited our wormy friends, I'd just fed them with my own "fattening mix", so time to see what's going on, and to check for excessive heat generation which I'm told can occur with the addition of grains. Open the bin to find this guy cruising the wall-"Hey dude, too hot?" So I dug around to find that several larger worms had migrated up to the feed layer-sweet! Temperature seems fine, too. Dug aound some more....looks like we have a dry layer here. So I thoroughly mixed the top 4 inches or the overall moisture level seems good, so no need to spray water. Checked the bottom bin for moisture...fair amount of "leachate" here, but no drowning/swimming worms-excellent! So I'm saving this liquid to pour on my designated houseplant to see if there seems to be any benefit. (From the looks of the plant, this liquid causes no harm thus far.) Closed the bin...til' next time fellas!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bonsai update...and the news is not good. It seems that my new project may be close to it's first casualties. The serissa got knocked over, and still looks very upset 3 weeks later (internal injuries?). The juniper may look okay, but a lot of the foliage is quite crispy-bummer! Then I realized that I'd been ignoring the special watering method for bonsai that I read about in the first place! You're supposed to sit the pot in a container of water, covering the dirt, for up to 30 minutes! Then you let it drain... I'd been watering them like regular houseplants-d'oh! So here's serissa enjoying a soak...sure hope it's not too late!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Waxwings are here! I really love these beautiful, sleek birds! I was walking into work this morning, and heard their whispery calls...looked around and here they are! A whole flock of them cleaning the leftover fruit off this tree in the parking lot (some kind of cherry, I think). So I dash inside, punch in, (can't be late!), and came back out to take pictures. I couldn't get super close, so even fully zoomed they aren't as close as I'd like, but you get the idea. Then I spot the robin on the ground below the tree...poor thing looks like some sort of social outcast. Guess it was a private party!