land squid

Apr. 3rd, 2019 02:30 am
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I planted asparagus today. I dug a trench, a foot wide a foot deep twenty feet long. I sprinkled sulfur along the bottom. I made ten mounds in the trench, half compost half soil with a spoonful of fertilizer with iron and a pinch of superphosphate each. I put five Jersey Giant and five Purple Passion bare root plants on the mounds. Not next year but the year after I will eat the asparagus.

Behold my squidlets before they go under the earth forever!

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I've been enjoying [personal profile] corvidology's "Stuff I Love" posts ( Mine also fits the "February is for shitposting" theme, because the magic ingredient that lets me put everything that rots into my compost pile is an ample supply of horse manure.

I love compost. As a gardener, I love it for improving the tilth of my soil, and providing water storage and slow-release nutrients to the plants that grow there. As a hippie, I love it for giving me more of the cycle of life, instead of the straight line of work gets you money, money gets you stuff, stuff turns into garbage, garbage goes to the landfill. As a person living in the 21st century, I love it for storing carbon.

It's not carbon sequestration. All the carbon is still part of the carbon cycle. But compost makes more carbon spend more time as carbohydrates, and less as carbon dioxide. First, it stores organic matter in the soil. Our soils are young, and our climate doesn't support a lot of trees without irrigation, so there's a lot of room for organic improvement. And second, improving the soil's tilth, water storage, and nutrient profile means that it supports more life: plants, animals, and all the other kingdoms. The wild grapevine growing out of my soil, the songbirds feasting on the grapes, the Cooper's Hawk feasting on the songbirds, those are all biomass, nurtured by my compost. Well, primarily they are living things, enjoying their own lives and pursuing their own purposes. But as a side effect, they are storing carbon.

one picture of a compost bin )


Sep. 7th, 2018 09:34 pm
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I have a couple more days of just eating whatever is in the fridge. Sometimes that is sad, but today [personal profile] kaberett made me think about squash blossoms. I have cheese in the fridge and tortillas in the freezer, so, a simple pumpkin blossom quesadilla:

I took a break from emptying my house to go to Rebecca Roanhorse reading at the bookstore. Worth it!


Jul. 28th, 2018 07:27 pm
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The first step in my house-fixing is to correct the negative grade on the north side, where negative grade means that it slopes toward the house, causing water to cuddle up to the foundation instead of running away like it should. That's done, and now I have this space:

It's about four feet deep and forty feet long, too big to ignore but too close to the house to do much with, especially since my house and the neighbor's are so close together. The contractors assured me that my new swale would direct runoff to the back yard, not toward my neighbor's foundation, but I'm still not going to be pouring a lot of extra water on it.

My neighbor's kids are six and three. While I was outside earlier, I heard Emma, the older, ask her mother, "Was Ben's first word 'Emma'? I think it was. Ben, was your first word 'Emma'? He says it was."
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Do you see the tiny cups packed with shiny black pebbles?

You can click through for a closer look.

I had a lot of trees cut down last year. These fungi are springing up where the stumps remain underground.

You can also see some of the many tree seedlings -- Chinese elm, green ash, and boxelder -- that think it is their time in the sun.
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Hail! Very loud hail. Little dog with heart disease does not approve.

kalettes, tomatoes, basil, garlic, hail
a woman's hand holding an inch-wide piece of hail

cut for politics )

Another thing I learned today is that miller moths are very filling. The immature screech owls are not passing mouse school because there are so many miller moths to eat instead. I say, if they're flying well enough to maintain their weight on miller moths, they're flying well enough to be released, but. We Have A Protocol.
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I love my house, but I am so embarrassed when people see it.

My garden is also a mess but I am not embarrassed about that. Less embarrassed.

Prepping the shadiest corner for my garden-in-a-box. Those are heucheras and plumbagos. I wanted to put the Knautia macedonica there too, because the information sheet I got with the plants says "Exposure: adaptable" but the plant tag and the web say it needs full sun.

The catalpa tree that is providing the shade.

Some irises that I took out of that spot. Some of them bloomed this year, so maybe it is sunny enough? Dappled sun in Colorado is pretty much equivalent to full sun in Michigan, right?
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30 plants in 2 or 3.5 inch pots in a car's hatchback

This is my Garden in a Box: 30 drought-tolerant plants for shade. I have a big catalpa in my front yard, so when my utility company offered a rebate on a group of plants chosen for these conditions, I lunged for it.

Going to look like this someday:
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Garden needs a lot of work, but that's why I have one.

There was a panel at Wiscon called Big Talk Conversation. It involved forming small groups by topics, and having conversations on those topics: Sex, Personal, Death, Politics, Potpourri. There were many questions on slips of paper as prompts, or you could start a conversation with your own question. The last question in my group was "Has a work of art ever made you cry?" and I read this poem, because I had it on my phone because I had just sent it to [personal profile] ljgeoff, and because it always makes me cry.
To be of use


The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Lisa helped me run Kids' Programs at Wiscon. She jumps into work headfirst, without dallying in the shallows.

I had to move a toad while I was turning one of the compost bins. Toads are also why I have a garden.


May. 22nd, 2018 08:11 pm
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Highs in the eighties, they said. Lows in the fifties. The whole week, they said. Great!

Today I planted the basil and tomatoes. It might rain tonight, they said. Great!


many iris

May. 22nd, 2018 04:34 pm
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several purple irises in bloom

I'm going to Wiscon! And I have a co-lead, so I won't have to be in the kids' room all day. However I am going to be there or on call during the daytime programming hours, and I don't know how tired I'll be in the evenings. You will definitely get to hang out with me if you sign up for my storytelling workshop!

plant sale

May. 14th, 2018 12:53 pm
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$65 worth of plants:

19 plants in 2-inch pots

It's too cold and wet for me to do much in the garden, but my kitchen is clean. I'm finally going to have it remodeled this year.

I'm rewatching Steven Universe, looking for clues. I think Serious Steven (s01e08) is the first time we see a gem's flat base first, and then the pyramid rising up from the base.

ETA: in Garnet's Universe (s01e33) the Gem Of Ultimate Power is a pyramid resting on its base in the shrine, but the base faces out while Ringo is using it to become Ultimate Ringo.
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a small praying mantis on a human forearm

Today is to pick up as much dog poop & knock down as many weeds as I can before it rains. Tomorrow, more rain and CSU plant sale! I have too much list, not enough planting spots.


Oct. 30th, 2017 02:49 pm
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Yesterday the weather was beautiful, the forecast was cold and wet, and it was almost Halloween. So, leaf raking. I had a lot of trees cut down in the back yard this summer, but in front there is a catalpa (big tree, big leaves), a crabapple (medium tree, tiny leaves), and a young oak (medium tree, medium leaves), as well as a lot of shrubs. I was concentrating on the sidewalks and the grass next to the sidewalks, thinking of trick-or-treaters and wet slippery leaves. Here's a bit I didn't get to:
I haven't risked a compost bin in the front yard before, but this year I did, just for leaves:
As you can see it is already full, and well tamped down, so I started another in the side yard:
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garden photo )

Every time I go out to move a hose, I see dozens of things that make me think, gotta take care of that. But right now each of those things makes me think, what is that going to look like in two more weeks? I gotta take care of that now!
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aaaaaaaaaaaa two sleeps till Wiscon aaaaaaaaaa!

garden pictures )
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This is my pumpkin patch today:Read more... )
I have to drive up into the foothills to feed the horses now. My old man is in California, learning to surf. Wish me luck!


Mar. 20th, 2015 01:13 pm
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I just saw an ice-cream truck go by. "Little girl running and the little boy too/Got their money tucked up in their hand..." Well, no, they don't, it is 1:13 p.m. on Friday, in March, they are all still in school.

I got some old brick from my friend who is moving away, when she was cleaning up her place to sell it. I started making a path to the alley, so I can take the trash out even when it's muddy. I put some down in herringbone pattern and some in running bond, to get an idea of what it would look like. Today I started moving it closer to where I want it, and discovered that the earthworms were already at work, making their paths, digging tunnels and gluing the soil to the undersides of the bricks.

Planted potatoes yesterday and peas today. How does your garden grow?
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I had some space, and some leftover seed, so I seeded a fall crop of basil and two kinds of kale. The seed were two or more years old, so I seeded thickly. Now I have many kale seedlings and many many basil seedlings, waytooclosetogether. I should just thin them, but-- Think of what I could do with all that basil!

I could try to separate them and grow them all on. I could find more space. Pricking out seedlings is going to be a lot harder stooping over a bed than standing at a counter, and a lot lot harder when you're pulling the seedlings out of clayey soil instead of lovely loose seed starter, but-- I could at least try.

This is going to hurt.
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Can you make straw bale gardens with hay that has been spoiled by getting wet, or will the mold be a problem?


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