sharpchick_2011: (Default)
 photo StFranciscloseup.jpg


Twelve spotted skimmer dragonfly

 photo dragonfly2.jpg


Hens and chicks

 photo lookatthechicks061813.jpg


The traps are working - see closed trap on lower left for the shadow of the prey...
Venus fly trap 'King Henry'

 photo VFTKingHenry061713.jpg

 photo drosera061713.jpg

 photo anole3061513.jpg


Five lined skink emerging from the lily pot...

 photo 5linedskink.jpg


Spiderwort, coming up as volunteers...

 photo spiderwort.jpg

 photo hostablooms-1.jpg
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
5 lined skink...

I was afraid the little sucker was drowning in my lily pot, but then I Googled them and found that they can hide underwater, holding their breath for several minutes, to escape predators.

 photo 5linedskink.jpg


The "dew" on sundew plants is the plants way of attracting insects that think they are in for a nectar treat. Very sticky stuff, that dew...Dinner, anyone?

 photo dewonsundew2.jpg


Professional gardeners and landscape companies call the blooms on hosta "insignificant."

But I never have...

 photo hostablooms.jpg

The journey is good.

Early morning in the garden is wondrous.
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
I started two mini bogs for carnivorous plants.



Venus fly traps and sundews

dionaea muscipula 'low giant' (Venus fly trap)

 photo dionaeamuscipulalowgiant.jpg

dionaea muscipula 'King Henry' (Venus fly trap)

 photo dionaeamuscipulakinghenry.jpg

dionaea muscipula 'green dragon' (Venus fly trap)

 photo dionaeamuscipulagreendragon.jpg

drosera intermedia (sundew)

 photo droseraintermediasundew.jpg

Full pot

 photo fullpot.jpg


Sarracenias (North American pitcher plants)

sarracenia minor purpurea var heterophylla 'rubra'

 photo rubra060813.jpg

sarracenia x. 'Judith Hindle'

 photo Hindle060813.jpg

sarracenia leucophylla 'red ruffles'

 photo 060813.jpg

Full pot

 photo sarrfullpot.jpg
Sarracenias like to be waterlogged. Sundews and VFTs like very moist soil.

So the pitchers got their own bog.
The journey is good.

Nature's beauty sometimes is also found in killers...
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
I potted these succulents on May 2.

I'm pleased with the growth so far. We've had a cooler than normal May, and above average rainfall.

Hens and chicks on the deck

 photo Hensandchickscollage.jpg

Pots in the rock garden. I potted these rather than plant them out, because only the sedums would be hardy this winter.

 photo Pandacollage.jpg

 photo othercollage.jpg
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
Viburnum in bud
 photo viburnuminbud.jpg


Carolina jasmine covering the roof of my shed, cascading down and smelling delicious.
 photo jasmineclose.jpg


My old faithful azalea is full of buds
 photo azalea.jpg


Little girls have a special place to sit...they love it because they feel hidden.
 photo littlegirls.jpg


Serenity
 photo serenity3.jpg

The east garden has my special project for the season.

I'm converting the water feature of the last five years to a goldfish pond. See far left, in the background.
 photo eastgardenpm.jpg


I designed a bog filter for the 275 gallon stock tank, and my son supplied the muscle.
 photo completeclose.jpg

For anyone interested in how we built it, I described it step by step in this thread on an aquarium forum.

The pond and bog plants will ship the week of April 22, and after I plant and let them settle in for a week, the first two ryukins will go in.
 photo BlondieGypsy2.jpg


This pond will be ryukins only. Commons, comets and shubunkins get so much larger, and are so much faster, they can out-compete the ryukins for food.
sharpchick_2011: (Troll)
Since I can't garden outside yet, I ordered some succulents to pot indoors from an Etsy seller.

From whom I will never buy another thing. But that's another story...

Part of the deal was - buy 10 potted succulents, her choice of a mix of 6. So that means you get some that are the same.

So I spent some time IDing the ones in her photo on her ad.

And wasted that time.

Because only 3 were any of the ones in her photo.
So now, I have spent some more time IDing what I actually got.

And this is where you come in...

First, let's start with the aloe I got from Lowes before I got the box of incredibly poorly packed succulents from the Etsy seller.

 photo Lowesaloe.jpg


Now, the rest are from the Etsy seller.

I think this is some sort of agave.

 photo agave.jpg


And I think this is a sempervivum.

 photo sempervivum.jpg


And I have no idea on any of the 3 of these, which I put in one pot (and may not oughta be in one pot). The largest one has a visible stem that I planted above the soil line.

 photo IDusethis.jpg


If you have suggestions, please comment.
The journey is good.

And it's even better when you can review an online sale...
sharpchick_2011: (Troll)
I planted the ultimate, low-tech nano "tank" today - a la Diana Walstad.

I used this vase from Target. I'm using a cheapo clamp on lamp and a 13 watt CFL bulb for light.

Not sure if I will add any critters to this. It's only about 2 1/4 gallons. A few shrimp might work, but I think I might just want to keep it plants, and let it run wild.

Wish I could have gotten a sweet little cryptocoryne. I am so tired of having to order those.

I'll post photos when the soil settles.

Really, anyone interested in gardening can do water gardening on an insanely small scale this way.
I clean forgot to post what I think is a really neat photo of Ivan the Terrible, flaring at his reflection in the side of his tank.

Dual reflection here.

 photo This.jpg

The journey is good.

And you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Namaste.
sharpchick_2011: (Smite)
Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1.

And the search results for alternative readers shows that most of them are woefully inadequate for the deluge of Google Reader fans trying to migrate over.

Like me.

Shit.
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
So I had this wonderful idea.

I have the 20 gallon aquarium, intensively planted. It has some wonderful schooling fish - tetras, rasboras, and corydoras catfish. They are all peaceful little fish - the tetras and rasboras occupy the midsection of the tank, and the cories are on the bottom, except when they race to the top for a gulp of air.

But I needed a top dwelling fish, and since the tank is about 89% stocked, this fish should be a contrast to the others in color.

My centerpiece fish. The piece de resistance.
I've been studying on this decision for a couple of weeks.

Making lists of fish that would work. In the end, it was a toss up between a dwarf honey gourami and a male halfmoon betta.

I've always loved the look of halfmoons. But they are - comparatively speaking - pricey bettas.

I pondered on the idea. If I got the gourami, and he had a bad disposition, would my cute little neons be in trouble?

And if I got a betta instead, I'd be rescuing another one from one of those nasty ass little cups.

I set out for Petco.
Came home with a gorgeous creamy white halfmoon male with some gray streaks in his halfmoon tail.

Put him in the tank. He swam behind the filter, hiding. I waited about 45 minutes and went to check on him. He was exploring the tank.

That was good.

And then it turned bad.

Meet Ivan the Terrible.

 photo Ivanin20gallon.jpg


In three hours, Ivan had cornered all 28 other fish in the right back corner of the tank, except one lone cory who was hiding out among the anacharis on the other side of the tank.

It took me 45 minutes to net Ivan.

My intensively planted tank has multiple plants floating. But that's okay - more plants are coming Friday, and I'm taking the anacharis out.

Fortunately for Ivan, I had a two gallon fish bowl, an extra air pump and an airstone.

I set him up next to Lucky.

Ivan wasn't crazy about the bowl.

 photo Ivannothappyinbowl.jpg


Lucky wasn't crazy about this new betta right next door.

 photo Luckynothappy.jpg


You can't heat a bowl. An airstone isn't a filter.

My $14 fish needed a proper home, even if he was Ivan the Terrible.

So, um...yeah.

 photo Soumyeah.jpg


Both tanks will get new and more plants on Friday.

With all three others.

Someone stop me, please...
The journey is good.

Namaste.
sharpchick_2011: (Romani q of s)
Planning major revisions to the aquascaping in all four tanks.

Plants will ship on Tuesday for Friday delivery to my door.

I'm taking off Friday at noon.
But this morning, I had water changes to do.

Betcha didn't know I was an aqua chemist.

 photo 100_3001.jpg


The bubbles on the tips of the cabomba are CO2. This is called pearling.

 photo 100_3004.jpg


Naturally, Dubya had to be in the photo, because he is...Dubya.
I love this piece of cholla with the marimo moss tied to it. But it just takes up too much real estate in the 20, 10 and nano, so I moved it to the goldfish tank.

 photo 100_3006.jpg


Where it looks like it will be stripped clean by Gypsy...

 photo 100_3008.jpg



Have been soaking some pieces of driftwood for each tank for two weeks in anticipation of the new scaping.

Today, I went ahead and tied the anubias in the goldfish tank to their driftwood, put it in the tank, and weighted it down with a rock.

 photo 100_3007.jpg

It takes about two hours to do water changes and maintenance on all the tanks.

There's a peacefulness about the process that makes it less like a chore. I check plants and fish. Gypsy bumps my hand constantly prompting me for food. (No, he doesn't get any...)
The journey is good.

Nature grounds me.

Now, for the real chores...

Namaste.
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
Haven't updated in several months.

Since my last post, I have...

Survived the December 25 snow storm that paralyzed Arkansas, and from which all storm debris has still not been cleared away;
Got the flu, had a rare reaction to tamiflu, and learned that it just takes 7 to 10 days for the flu to go away, and you may as well veg on the couch; and
Endured more of this weird Arkansas weather this past week. Yesterday, we had a combination of sleet, freezing rain, hail, plain rain and thunderstorms.

All within the space of about 14 hours.
Animals and babies have taken center stage in my life. My niece had a beautiful baby boy on February 8, and my nephew and his wife are due to have their daughter on April 5.

Knit, knit, knit...
And I have gotten back into fish tanks.

In a major way.

MTS - big time. (For those unfamiliar, MTS = Multi Tank Syndrome. It also means Malaysian Trumpet Snails, but I don't have any of those.)

For those who find fish tanks interesting, I have some photos.
Image intensive under the cut... )

Just wait until I get my DIY bog filter for my pond done this spring.
The journey is good.

Namaste.
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
It was a glorious autumn morning in the garden...

Photobucket
sharpchick_2011: (Smite)
First, we had Mitt Romney telling Scott Pelley of CBS how he'd balance the budget.

Asked for specifics, Romney listed "the subsidy for PBS, the subsidy for Amtrak, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts" and "the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Humanities."

Now, the Republican Secretary of State of Georgia, Brian Kemp, will close the state's archives building to make a required 3% reduction in his office's budget.

“The building will be mothballed, if you will. It will have just enough employees there to take care of the critical documents.”

Open season on public access to arts, humanities and public records.

Not just the brightest bunch...
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
I love photography.

And a few months ago, I ran onto the neatest theme in photography blogs.

Daily snapshots in a city. A lot of the bloggers use the word daily in the title of the blog. I empathize with the blogger who acknowledges that real life intrudes sometimes, and uses the word "occasional" in the blog title.

Almost all of them have sidebar links to other similar photo blogs.

Here are some of my favorites:
Brisbane Occasional Photo

Daily Dublin

Oakland Daily Photo

Hyde Daily Photo Volume 2

Mornington Peninsula Daily

Very cool that I can get a glimpse of the everyday sights in cities all over the world.
The past three days have been alternately rainy and cloudy here.

I love it. We had a killer summer - not just here in Arkansas, but all over the country, with the worst drought some of us have seen in decades. Yesterday was a perfect day for graving. (Hit up Graven Images to see what I saw.)

It's also a sign of the cycles, and reaffirmation that with or without us, they go on...
The journey is good.

Sight-seeing side trips from my couch are delightful extras - especially when I can't sleep at 4 a.m.

Namaste.
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
I love those.

I get to meander. The older I get, the more meandering appeals to me.

Stuff still gets done, but at a more leisurely pace.

And I get to work on genealogy.
Caught up on my genealogy blog reading.

And read one post in another blog that got me to wondering.

Again.

About Hetty Hill.
The journey is good.

Meandering moves you along, too.

Namaste.
sharpchick_2011: (Bullshit meter)
I got a call from my sis last night. She and my brother-in-law are being harassed by members of the Mormon church, under the guise of being "watched over" by a guy who fancies himself my brother-in-law's bishop.

My sister is not Mormon. As a matter of fact, my family's only contact with Mormons was on the first 9/11, back in 1857 at Mountain Meadows, Utah, where 17 members of our extended Wharton family were massacred by Mormons, and their bodies left to rot and be scavenged by animals after they were picked clean of their valuables.

Because they were "Gentiles," dontcha know? Leave it to what was then a sect, devised by a self-proclaimed 17 year old prophet in 1823, to shanghai a term used in Judaism for thousands of years...

I am especially irritated by their attempt to use their genealogical holdings to to baptize members of anyone's family in the Mormon faith, if they can get their hands on your database.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw this photo

Photobucket


in my morning paper in 2009 was whether as a quid pro quo for giving our President those lovely "five large leather-bound volumes...that detail his family history going back multiple generations covering hundreds of years," Monson had told Obama that all his family members had been baptized in the Mormon church.

So on the whole, my family doesn't hold much truck with Mormons.
My brother-in-law's family is Mormon, but as I gather from him, he has not been involved in the Mormon church during his adult life.

So when these people began showing up at their house a couple of years ago, my sister was initially polite when she turned them away, explaining she was not Mormon, and the person they were looking for was not at home.

Then, she had to get more insistent with them. She told them not to even bother ringing the bell if the little red truck wasn't there.

They kept coming. My brother-in-law told them to lay off - don't come back.

He even wrote them a letter saying that.

So they sent him one in return.

Photobucket


Isn't that a trip? A form letter. Kinda makes ya wonder why they need one of those, doesn't it?

Apparently, the letter my brother-in-law wrote isn't good enough.

He has to write a special letter, "requesting that his name be removed from the membership records." Unless he does that, they will just keep coming.
He says he's not going to do it.

Personally, I think Bishop Jonathan Flannery has been real lucky to date.

What his folks are doing is called criminal trespass and stalking in this state - I have no idea what they call it in Utah.

If they kept doing that shit to me, they'd be looking the wrong way down the barrel of a gun. Instead of looking out for my immortal soul, they'd need to be looking out for their very mortal asses.

Or talking to a couple of Little Rock's finest, who could outfit them with a pair of matching shiny bracelets, as they gave them personal escort off my property.

Down here in the South, we have a saying for that kind of crap.

That dog won't hunt...
The journey is good.

Beware of the wolves in sheep's clothing.

Cause we have laws about that kind of asshattery...
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
About my decision not to renew my subscription.

~face*palm~

This...

Jul. 29th, 2012 09:13 am
sharpchick_2011: (Caddo solar cross)
Originally displayed on the Facebook page of Aboriginal and Tribal Nation News.

Photobucket
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
It would not usually be my custom to address this issue to you in a public forum, but alas, your people will not leave me alone.

Last Saturday, as well as today, I received a phone call from one of your subscription folks, earnestly pointing out to me that I have not renewed my subscription to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Although you apparently don't realize this, I am fully aware that I did not renew. It was not an oversight.

My failure to renew was one of those last straw moments, nurtured by decades of irritation that erupted into a calculated decision.

From your less-than-convincing protests in 1986 that you were not trying to run the Arkansas Gazette out of business, to your acquisition of the name to tag on to your newly formed "only daily statewide newspaper" in 1991, with its decided right-wing editorial stance, my irritation grew. Still, these were your choices, and as a staunch proponent of choice, I soldiered on. I maintained my subscription, even through the very lean financial years as a single mother.

In the last few years, I noted that the vast majority of the letters on your Voices page came from the religious right. As I stood back and looked, that page in your newspaper made it appear as if Arkansas was populated primarily by religious zealots determined to make everyone else in the state live, love, work and play by their own personal interpretation of the King James bible. (And where do you get those letters? Surely they are not the only ones coming across the editorial desk.)

The only representative of competing views - John Brummett - has limited page space in your newspaper. Perhaps that is by mutual agreement, or by his choice alone. Nonetheless, I found that your newspaper was less and less relevant to my life.

But the wrecking ball you heaved into our relationship came on June 1, 2012, when you published that letter to your readers announcing an increase in the cost of single issues of the newspaper.

Now why, you ask, would that affect me as a subscriber?

First, you failed to mention in that letter that you were not merely increasing the price of a single issue, you were doubling it. I have never been a fan of disingenuous announcements spun as heartfelt explanations.

Second, in your effort to entice non-subscribers to sign up, you failed to take into account that home delivery of your newspaper often isn't - as in the case of my parents, who live in rural Pope County, Arkansas, and have tried to pay for home delivery from you for years. For them, "home delivery" means a box on the highway several miles down the road, because it isn't cost efficient for you to pay a carrier to truly deliver to them (or their neighbors) at home.

Again, your choice.

And after I looked at your website to see if I - and they - could get a cut in the home delivery price if we had an online-only subscription, and found we could not, I made my choice.

Seriously, why should I pay you the same amount of money to cut out the carrier, the cost of newspaper and ink, and read the paper online?

I was already aware my subscription would expire on June 25.

I made a conscious choice not to renew.

I have now asked your people on two consecutive Saturday mornings not to call me again.

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Not really - that's quite disingenuous. It will only become sorrowful if one of your folks awakens me again next Saturday morning.

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