It's Alive!

Jun. 8th, 2009 09:03 am
patinagle: (Default)
Just a quick garden update.  The redbud tree is alive!  We planted it to honor Chris's mom, but it doesn't like the cold winters up here.  The main trunk died, but the roots are alive.  This is the second year that it's sent up a new shoot. 

So, gladness.  Cheering.  Come on, little tree!  You can do it.

Seriously thinking about using old cat littler buckets to compost kitchen scraps.  Can't discover a reason why it wouldn't work.  I'd love to get one of those rotating bin composters, but they cost $$$ and I don't see why a bucket with a lid wouldn't work as well.  I'd just pick it up and shake it after adding new scraps. 

If any more experienced gardeners want to weigh in, feel free.
patinagle: (Default)
May Day was always a fascination to me.  As a child I had heard stories about May Day and May baskets, leaving secret presents for neighbors at dawn, that kind of thing.  I never really got to participate in it, though.  It was always one of those "wouldn't it be great" things. 

May Day is an ancient fertility celebration.  Some interpret that as meaning wild revelry ("Tra-la, it's May, the lusty month of May...") but I tend to think about gardening.  Unfortunately, where I live, May Day is not yet frost-free time, but I have plants growing indoors.  Some quite enthusiastically, practically screaming to get their little roots into the garden soil.  They must wait a week or two. 

There are some lovely May carols, with dairy maids and garlands of flowers left by mysterious suitors and all that sort of pastoral thing.  I love these.  I also love Maypole dances, which I've actually done.  And another May tradition - the "Belfire" or bonfire - is something I'm always in favor of (though I've never jumped over one).

For a while May Day was co-opted by communism, kind of the antithesis of the pastoral celebration.  It's also become International Workers' Day, which is fine but nowhere near as romantic and fun as the old traditions.

I'm a sucker for romance and tradition.  So I will at least light a candle for May Day and probably try to do something with flowers.  My schedule isn't going to permit more this year, alas, but maybe next year. 



Spring Snow

Mar. 9th, 2009 12:57 pm
patinagle: (comonplace)
Was all set to make a gleeful post about the daffodils and tulips that are sending up leaves.  Woke to snow this morning.  It's melting at the moment, so the water barrels will be replenished.  Moisture is always welcome; we've been having fire danger warnings lately, so this is good.

I am a little worried about the wildflower seeds I've been sowing.  But, ah well.  There are always more seeds. 

In Between

Feb. 10th, 2009 12:39 pm
patinagle: (aurora)
Snow today. Looks very wintery, but there are the pansies. Also some seedlings I planted indoors a week ago are already poking up their tiny heads.

Spring here is often windy, which is no fun. It can also snow as late as early May. So regardless of the weather, it's still spring for me.

Lots of bluebirds and robins in the bird bath. Pine siskins gobbling thistle. A couple of days ago we're pretty sure we saw some cedar waxwings, a first for us in this location. I'd heard they were in the area, and had been wanting to see them.

Now the sun is coming out, though it's still snowing. Sun flurries.

Spring

Feb. 6th, 2009 10:20 am
patinagle: (Default)
With the days notably longer, the garden is waking up. I cleaned out the raised beds yesterday. Chives are already sending up leaves. The rosebushes have tiny buds. Some of the pansies have wintered over, and I put out some more pansies to welcome the Spring. The wildflower seeds I ordered came in the mail, so I'm going to work on getting the meadows seeded today. Rain coming in this weekend, which should help.
patinagle: (aurora)
Every January we have a warm spell. It's a break between storms this year, and a welcome chance for the snow to melt off.

The warm snap always makes me start to think about gardening. This year it looks like some of my pansy bowls may have wintered over. Pansies are so amazing! They don't mind being frozen. I'm giving them little drinks of water to help them along.

It's time to start thinking about getting seedlings going. Last year I grew more plants from seed than ever before. Enjoyed it enormously, so I'm going to do it again.

The front "lawn" is a loss. We've tried pampering it along but the grasses really aren't suited to the climate, and the pocket gophers keep making little trailing mounds of dirt. Lawns are unnatural constructs, especially here. I'm letting it turn into a meadow, and scattering wildflower seeds to help it along. Would love to get some California or Mexican poppies going there.

Autumn

Sep. 22nd, 2008 10:14 pm
patinagle: (Default)


It's the equinox. Time to pause and look at where we are in the season.

To me, this is not the first day of Autumn, but the middle of Autumn. Weather is decidedly cooler; we haven't used the air conditioner for a couple of weeks. Days are just about perfect, nights beginning to be cool. The hummingbirds are still around and there are lots of robins in the bird bath. Pansies, nasturtiums, petunias, bachelor's buttons are blooming happily. Tomatoes are ripening in the garden. It's time to harvest herbs.

And the piñons! We have a good crop going this year, as evidenced by the dozens of cars alongside the road. Families come to pick piñon (pine nuts) wherever the trees grow--which around here is pretty much everywhere. We have quite a few on our land, and I went out and gathered a couple of handfuls of nuts already. Must get serious about it and bring in a good harvest, but I've been busy with revisions.

My fantasy novel, The Betrayal, launches in six months, on the Spring Equinox. In honor of that, I've posted a free read to my website: "Kind Hunter," the story that sparked the novel.

Rain!

May. 15th, 2008 02:11 pm
patinagle: (aurora)
Much rejoicing! We had some rain yesterday, and today it has been almost non-stop. This is a huge blessing, since we hadn't had any rain in at least a month and my water barrels were getting empty. Now they are full! Yay!

I planned to plant flowers and herbs today. (I bought a lunar gardening calendar--much fun!) Looks like the rain has paused so I'm off to do it now.

Then back to the copyedits that arrived earlier this week.
patinagle: (Default)
Was just out potting three more pines and had a visit from a hummingbird! First one I've seen this year. Sugar water is on the stove. Now to dig out the feeders.
patinagle: (Default)
The aspens leafed out this week. Even a lot of the babies planted in previous seasons are waking up. Some of them haven't made it, which is why I put in three older saplings last year. But several of the babies are hanging in there!

I want to sow radishes today. Been looking at a lunar gardening book a friend gave me a while back. Root crops are supposed to go in during the waning moon. So I'm going to dash out and throw some radish seeds around before I get back to revising the WIP.

The raised bed that is my tiny veggie patch is looking good. I haven't planted anything there yet, but the chives are fixing to bloom and the parsley wintered over and is a large, enthusiastic, vibrant green clump!

After May Day I will plant nasturtiums. Looking forward to them - I so enjoyed them last year!

In the meantime, I am still putting ponderosa seedlings into pots. These are from the same source where I got the baby aspens, the New Mexico Forestry Division. If you own 2 acres of land you can get seedlings very inexpensively. The catch is you have to buy them in lots, so I've got twenty pine trees to plant. Most are going into big pots until I can get to them on a less urgent schedule. Even just getting them into pots is a good deal of work, though. I had Chris drill holes in the bottoms of a bunch of old cat litter buckets. Not pretty, but a good size, and the price is right.

Last night we froze so I sent poor Chris out in his pjs (cause that's more than I had on) to fetch in the bucket of seedlings that haven't yet been planted. I should put them outside again, now.

OK, back to work!
patinagle: (Default)

patio potLots going on in the garden these days. My patio pots are blooming nicely. Petunias and lobelias, also salvia that I grew from seed this year for the first time. Very proud of those.

The veggie patch is not so photogenic, but still wonderful. I have four varieties of tomato, all doing well though the clear winner is the Sweet Million, which was recommended by the local nursery. Before I got those I had planted a Sweet 100, and two Oregon Springs which are supposed to be good for higher altitudes, and a Big Boy that was in with the Sweet 100's and that I bought by mistake. Even it is happy. All the tomatoes are blooming and several are setting fruit, and the Sweet Million has a couple already ripening.

Chives are coming into a second bloom. Parsley (grown from seed) is doing well. I started a big bowl of mixed lettuce for microgreens last week, and they are now coming up.

patio potThis year I'm growing nasturtiums for the first time. They're fun! And edible. I understand the leaves taste like watercress. Maybe I'll try an egg-and-nasturtium sandwich with my tea. They are also good companion plants and repel squash bugs, according to the Wikipedia entry. That's terrific! Those squash bugs are terrible pests. I'm going to grow nasturtiums every year!

patio potOne plant that was here when we moved in is pink yarrow, which I had never seen before. Here it is in its bed, along with some spearmint. I also have white yarrow and moonshine yarrow (yellow).

This morning when I was tying up the tomatoes, I heard an owl. Nice moment.

Dean Wesley Smith has made a great blog post about The Race, which he invented. Really interesting history, and some names you'll recognize.

4 pages written today, plus 3 chapters edited of a completed novel.

Points in The Race:
25 for short stories
32 for novels
----------------------
57 total

May

May. 30th, 2007 02:54 pm
patinagle: (Default)

Busy month!

Garden catch-up: the oaks finally leafed out about two weeks ago. Everything's awake now, and I've planted tomatoes. Planted nasturtiums, too - first time I've grown them. Boy, are they enthusiastic! Mama's redbud tree has a new set of leaves and looks very happy.

The black-headed grosbeaks have arrived, and so have the goldfinches. Many band-tailed pigeons also. They keep knocking down the window feeder.

Couple of days ago I saw a very large snake by the raised beds. The back half of a very large snake, that is. The front half was already down a burrow at the end of said raised beds. I think it was a bull snake - sorry I didn't get a picture, but it was impressive.

We spent the long weekend in Cloudcroft, a pretty little town in the Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico. Ponderosa forests, green everywhere. Amazing lightning and pouring rain. When the sun was out we hiked in some old railbeds that are now hiking trails, and saw a couple of old trestles that were built when the area was booming in the lumber industry. Here's a picture of a trestle that is, ahem, no longer serviceable.

Amazing how much work went into building these things. These timbers are huge, two feet thick at least. There were over 40 trestles on the run to Cloudcroft. All fallen into ruin less than 200 years later.

Points in The Race:

20 for stories (pile to send back out)
16 for novels

36 total

2 pages written (still a busy month)
patinagle: (Default)

A couple of notable occurrances in the garden this week - the Russian sages started waking up and putting out leaves, and the hummingbirds are back. I was going to wait to put out the hummingbird feeders until May Day, but when I saw a hummer poking its nose at the thistle tube, I decided I'd better get the food out now.

Hummingbirds are so amazing. They are fearless, and have incredible amounts of energy. They are so small and so wonderfully beautiful. I was filling a seed tube the other day and one came to the feeder a few feet away from me, its throat flashing fuchsia in the sunlight. I always stop and stare when one comes near.

A friend pointed out this series of pictures of baby hummingbirds. Just incredible. Be sure to click "Next" at the bottom of each page.

2 pages today (weekend)
44 points in The Race

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