Sunday, January 31, 2021

You snooze, you lose

I checked out the Aerogarden site after reading Erin's comment about starting seedlings in one. The new 3-pod 'Sprout' model was on sale. I decided to sleep on it - I have been decluttering not only physical space but mental and psychological space and wasn't sure I wanted to take on a new project - but when I went to make a purchase, they were sold out. In fact, many of their models are sold out. Due to the pandemic-inspired gardening craze? Or are they getting rid of last year's stock in anticipation of the new growing season?

This morning I woke up to a lovely blanket of snow. My ortho doc nixed cross country skiing, and conditions may be a bit too sticky for that anyway. I had to make do with shoveling the deck and front walks and around the gates I use most frequently; my neighbor across the street is kind enough to blow the driveway for me.

Recently I received a quote from a new lawncare company that utilizes organic methods. I'm excited. I used to treat my lawn myself, but gave that up after I lost a cat to tongue cancer. Meanwhile, the lawn has become quite weedy. I am going to try this business out, but just for the front yard as the backyard is still a work in progress.

I replaced the cracked corn in one bird feeder (which repeatedly clumped up and would not flow) with a mostly millet mix. The sparrows seem to really like it. Meanwhile, the starlings continue their feeding frenzy. They aren't nice to other birds and they aren't nice to each other. I hear crows on a regular basis and see geese flying overhead, unusual avian events in the middle of winter. I even saw a heron the other day.

Despite precautions, my SO and I managed to catch little colds this past week, as did my granddaughter the week before. It must be one more thing going around. I was a little surprised but blame it on the maskless. Come on, people! Let's help each other out here.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Old dog, new tricks

My attempts at starting some seedlings inside has been a total FAIL. Neglect is the issue. BUT thanks to Erin's comment, I am learning a new way to achieve my goal of an indoor herb garden. I'd never heard of a Kratky bottle, but found some info here. This sounds more doable for me, once I get it together. My biggest problem will be keeping Beau the Feline Destroyer of All Things Nice from messing with this set up.

I continue to be shocked by the flocks of robins and starlings I have seen this winter. Regarding the latter, the woman who helped me at Wild Birds Unlimited said she deters starlings from the meal worm feeder by scaring them off; the starlings fly away while the bluebirds hang around nearby. I tried this and it does work, for a while, long enough for the bluebirds to get their fill. Of course, I have better things to do than monitor the starlings, but it's an amusing after-lunch activity. I'm also going to try offering millet, to see if that helps.

A week or so ago, I received cortisone shots in both shoulders. It took a while, but they actually have helped. Indiana is now "orange" regarding Covid; I'm too young (thought I would never say that!) to receive the vaccine yet, but hopefully soon. And we have a new president (!) whose appointees reflect America in all its diversity. I tend to be a cynic but right now I am cautiously optimistic that things may improve bit by bit.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Feed the birds you have

I was reading a short profile of an actor who owns a horse that she plans to show. Her trainer told her to "ride the horse you have," meaning that some days the horse will perform magnificently and sometimes not. I decided to apply that philosophy to my bird feeders. Instead of fretting about the sparrows and starlings, I will just feed them all. That doesn't mean I won't try to lure the sparrows away from the peanut splits or buy corn-free suet blocks so they don't peck at those; I also ration the meal worms because they are expensive. I spent enough at a recent trip to Wild Birds Unlimited that they gave me a free bucket of Bark Butter, something new to try, to see if I can feed even more birds.

Last night, a little hail fell, followed by snow that melted, then froze into bumpy ice, followed by fluffy snow. I've been watching "Bordertown" and the winter scenes with white xmas lights reflected in the snow are quite lovely. Besides our own lovliness here, this morning's dog walks were delightful, as there was no wind. After breakfast, I puttered in the yard, just to enjoy the winter weather.

I've started "fall cleanup" by cutting down the clematis. Even though the 'Betty Corning' is not supposed to be cut down, it looks so raggedy that I can't help myself. I'm wondering if I paid more attention to shaping and training it in the summer, I could prune it properly and not have it trying to take over everything in its vacinity.

Regarding indoor gardening, I have not been having much luck. I wanted to transplant the dracaena that I have been rooting in vermiculite, but, huh, no roots. It looks fine but nary a root has appeared. Maybe I'm overwatering it? I also tried starting some herbs, but so far I have only a couple of basil seedlings, no dill or thyme.

There is shoulder surgery in my future, once I get both doses of the Covid vaccine. I can't help to want to schedule it so that it does not interfere with gardening. Yes, I can hire someone to mow, etc., but my yard is my therapy - physical, mental, spiritual. Even if the pandemic continues, even if the country remains divided, even if domestic terrorism is on the rise, I can look forward to disappearing into the garden for some respite. Stay safe!

Friday, January 01, 2021

Frightful weather for the new year

Time is an artificial construct, so it kinda bugs me when people make it sound like crossing from one artificial year to the next, on a particular artificial day at an artificial time is going to make a difference. And yet, a new year does feel newish, doesn't it? I'm just hoping today's weather is not a harbinger of things to come in 2021.

Flocks of robins have stripped the neighbor's ornamental pear tree of its fruit. Did you know that the fruit on hawthorn trees is called a haw and structurally is a pome, not a berry? Usually, the robins save the hawthorn fruit on my tree until late winter, but I noticed that most of it is gone, too. What are they going to eat now? Dried up pokeweed berries?

The seeds I ordered from Pinetree Garden arrived. I haven't been able to find my seed starting heating pad, though, so haven't planted them yet. I've been feeling rather lazy the past couple of weeks or so.

It looks like Indiana has fallen off the top twelve list of states with the most new cases of Covid per capita. The county I live in has changed from red to orange and held orange for two weeks, so some restrictions are being lifted. Not masks or social distancing, but things like how late bars can stay open; Hoosiers have their priorities, ya know. We'll see if the past weeks of holiday shopping and family gatherings change that. HNY!