Sunday, February 25, 2024

Rough week

One of my dogs, Watson, passed away this past week. He had been sneezing a lot lately, then the sneezes turned bloody. The vet tried to do a nasal flush, which broke off parts of a tumor. During the procedure, the dog went into a coma and stopped breathing. They ventilated him for several hours, but it was no use. I arrived to be with him at the end, when the ventilator was disconnected, and I sat with him while he slowly passed.

It was all very sudden - I prefer a long goodbye - and poor Clio doesn't know where her friend and pack leader has gone. The spark has gone out. I've been taking her on longer and more varied walks, giving her extra attention, plan to find her a doggy daycare where she can romp with other mutts once or twice a week. Without Watson, she doesn't see the point of running around the backyard. They weren't bonded, but good playmates.

On one of my last walks with Watson, we visited the neighborhood pond, where we saw this muskrat. When I see one, I want to believe it is a beaver, but beavers are about twice the size of muskrats. An otter would be WAY cool, but they prefer rivers.

Meanwhile, the weather continues to be erratic. We received more snow, but most of that is gone and tomorrow temps will be in the 50's. We are heading to the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, to view the sandhill cranes, who hopefully will be doing their mating dance.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Rite of February

Gardening catalogs start arriving here just before Thanksgiving, but I force myself to wait a bit before ordering. Nothing like pretty plant pictures to hold the February doldrums at bay. The hard part is not going overboard and ordering one of everything.

From Prairie Moon Nursery
  • Ruellia humilis - Wild Petunia Seeds: Packet 
  • Fragaria virginiana - Wild Strawberry Seeds: Packet 
  • Asclepias syriaca - Common Milkweed 12 plants 
  • Silphium perfoliatum - Cup Plant 3 plants
From Pinetree Garden Seeds
  • Profusion Double Mix Zinnia seeds 
  • Hopi Red Dye Amaranth seeds
From American Meadows
  • Trifolium repens - Dutch White Clover seeds (5#) 
My yard has a lot of mulched areas, especially in the backyard. The dogs trample everything that tries to grow there, but I'd like to get some groundcover started around the shrubs, hence the wild petunia and wild strawberry. I spoke with the lawn service that treats the grass, as I miss the white clover and wild strawberry that used to grow with the grass, so for this year, I will spot treat the weeds myself and try to re-establish the clover and strawberry.

We had another spate of 50-degree weather this past week - my daughter and her friends went kayaking - but now it is more winterlike. Some of the plants are a bit confused, like the hairy beardtongue and daffodils. I have to keep reminding myself that spring is still a while away.

A pair of mallards have appeared at the neighborhood pond, and Canada geese are starting to migrate through this area. Maybe it's time to check out the sandhill cranes again.

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Jumping worms?!?

While I am puzzling about the stink bugs that show up (one at a time) in my house, apparently there are bigger problems to worry about. Asian jumping worms are invading the Midwest. Wisconsin has had jumping worms since 2013, and now they are showing up in Indiana.

What's the big deal? These boogers destroy soil, mulch, and plants, leaving behind castings that do not nourish anything. And there are no known treatments other than collecting them and destroying them. I haven't seen any evidence of them in my yard, but I will keep a lookout for suspicious brown patches.

From the Wisconsin DNR

Here is more info: From the Wisconsin DNR, from Vermont Invasives, and from Indiana Native Plants.

(I can't help but wonder what Darwin would say about such a destructive creature.)

Meanwhile, we are having a ridiculously warm day. It won't last, but it is a bit disturbing.

I've been sick with a cold this past week. Not covid, not the flu, just a plain ordinary cold. In the midst of it, one can't help but wonder if recovery is possible, but eventually symptoms start to fade. I don't get sick very often, but when I do, I am IMpatient to be better. Illness is so boring.