sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2014-05-18 08:16 am
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It has been a very lush spring in the east cottage garden...

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My 3 year old clematis on the fence finally bloomed.
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The potted one by the front door was gorgeous as always, but needs a good pruning.
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After nearly 10 years, the cold weather and a tree limb broke the large terra cotta pot that had been home to this Japanese maple. My neighbor helped me repot it.
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And what to do with the very large shards?

Make a planter for some succulents, because everyone knows you can never have too many succulents...

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We love Japanese maples around the cottage, so we have, Here's a smaller one.
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The journey is good.

I am remembering to smell the roses.
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
2014-02-27 11:33 am
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In which I annoy you with a photo of plants...

Have not posted in ever so long.

And regretfully, also have not read.

Winter still has her icy fingers around the cottage garden.

So I garden indoors.

My succulent collection has grown a bit.

 photo SucculentsIhave1.jpg
For those who want to know, here's what they are...

Left to right

Row 1: Aloe 'Pickled Pink,' Aloe Juvenna, Senecio Rowleyanus 'String of Pearls,' Sedum Morganianum 'Donkey's Tail,' Aloe Ciliaris (did not not when I purchased it at Lowes that it's the fastest growing of the small aloes but I can vouch for that), Sedum Burrito 'Burro's Tail (less likely to be damaged by casual contact than Morganianum)

Row 2: Kalanchoe Tomentosa 'Panda Plant' (kids love to pet this. So do I.), Haworthia reinwardtii var. brevicula (say that three times real fast), Graptoveria Amethorum, Hoya compacta 'Hindu rope plant,' Sansevieria trifasciata 'Black Gold,' Beaucarnea Recurvata 'Ponytail palm'

Row 3: Aloe variegata, Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg (crested), Haworthia fasciata (not to be confused with Haworthia attenuata, which has little nubbies on both sides of the leaves), Rhipsalis 'Mistletoe Cactus,' some of the pots backlit by morning sun, Aloe Crosby's prolific.
The journey is good.

I love playing in the dirt, even when I have to do it inside.
sharpchick_2011: (Man belongs to the earth)
2013-08-03 07:52 am
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sharpchick_2011: (Troll)
2013-07-27 12:17 pm
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Meanwhile, back at the pond...

We had a lovely soaking rain for about 24 hours, starting late yesterday morning.

So unusual for this time of year around these parts. Yesterday's high was 72 in the cottage garden. Quite drizzly. Last year on that date, our high was 103, and we were in the middle of a critical drought.

But yesterday, the universe gave me wonderful weather for planting my backside on the couch and catching up on reading.

Which I did.
Okay, now this lotus is just toying with me.

I have been watching this bud for over a week now.

It gets bigger, and the color deepens but there's no hint of it opening.

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I never understand ponders who post this kind of photo, and say something like...

Well, I declare! I had no idea there was a bud. That flower just crept up on me...

Do they not visit their ponds every day? If not, what's the point?

My pond is one of the little bitty pieces of nature entrusted to me that restores my soul.
And so this morning, one of the wees got bolder and came out with the grown-ups for the morning feed.

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He's (she? do not know - have not looked between the tiny little fins) a new one to me.

There are two other new-to-me wee ones also.

Which now brings us up to six.

And I fear that's really something like 36, or 76...

They do like their citrus.

 photo golds072713.jpg

The journey is good.

And full of all sorts of interesting surprises.

sharpchick_2011: (Man belongs to the earth)
2013-07-23 05:45 pm

Gardening under glass...

My sub-tropical and tropical sundews (drosera) in the terrarium for year round growing. Four are cape sundews (capensis) and two are rosettes.

d. aliciae - a rosette form
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d. capensis narrow, red
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d. capensis alba
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d. tokaiensis - another rosette
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d. capensis narrow, with flower buds. Yay! Seeds!
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the alba, 6 minutes after being fed a thawed bloodworm.
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the whole tank - I recycled a retired 20 gallon long
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sharpchick_2011: (Scorpio)
2013-07-17 10:34 pm

Killers under glass...

All these are sundews. None of them need winter dormancy, and if I chanced having them outside, I might lose some of them, although other CP fans do report them handling some sub-freezing temperatures for short periods of time.

I'm trying a terrarium.

I am fascinated with these plants.
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d. capensis narrow leaf red photo dcapensisnarrowred.jpg

d. capensis wide leaf photo dcapensiswideleaf.jpg

d. capensis narrow leaf photo dcapensisnarrow.jpg

d. capensis alba photo dcapensisalba2.jpg

right tank shot photo partialtank.jpg
sharpchick_2011: (Man belongs to the earth)
2013-07-06 09:26 am
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Plundering the land...

Have you ever known someone who just hacks, chops, burns, digs, grates, and plows his way through nature?

I do. Although my in-person contact with him is minimal, my landlord just slays me. And not only in a figurative sense.

Every time he rapes the land out here, a little piece of my soul goes with what he takes.

He's doing it again. Had a crew out here, cutting perfectly health trees down.

One of the neightbors asked him why. He doesn't like sweet gum balls.

And he doesn't keep those two yards either. The tenants who live there do, as we all do.

So why does he care?

Because plundering nature is one of his hobbies.
When he first bought this place some 14 or 15 years ago, one of his first orders of business was to clear cut all the pine off of it.

The pileated woodpeckers left. They prefer to nest in mature forests, and ours was gone. He started cutting in the late spring, and I asked him if he was having the logging company watch out for nests with fledgling birds. He looked at me as if I had lost what was left of my mind.

The logging company dragged the trees out of the forest using chains and tractors. They rarely loaded their trucks where they felled trees.

I asked my landlord if he knew how long it takes nature to make an inch of topsoil - all those inches that were being dragged out of the forest wouldn't be replaced for millenia.

He squinted at me, and I knew he was entertaining questions about whether I might be one of those spike-driving tree huggers.

For him, nature is something to be subdued.
No. It's not.

He's just flat-assed wrong.

 photo Manbelongstotheearth.jpg
sharpchick_2011: (Scorpio)
2013-06-30 04:28 pm

In the garden on this fine summer day...

After triple digit air temps earlier this week, we are having a brief respite. And the humdity is much lower, too.

chicks on my hens - I love the purple of these leaves, and the little tiny teeth on the edges of the leaves that must have some purpose.

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grandchick chair on the front porch

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the bloom only lasts for a day, but it is sensational while it's there

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salvinia minima in the pond - look at the tiny little hairs on top of the leaves

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nymphaea Sioux lily - the mottled leaf color is stunning to me. I can't wait to see the bloom.

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sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2013-06-18 10:21 pm
Entry tags:

Come to my garden...

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Twelve spotted skimmer dragonfly

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Hens and chicks

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

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Five lined skink emerging from the lily pot...

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Spiderwort, coming up as volunteers...

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sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2013-06-15 10:36 am

From the garden this morning...

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.

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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?

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

But I never have...

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The journey is good.

Early morning in the garden is wondrous.
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2013-06-01 09:24 am
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What a difference a month makes

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

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

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sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2013-04-14 04:42 pm
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Spring is popping out all over at the cottage...

Viburnum in bud
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Carolina jasmine covering the roof of my shed, cascading down and smelling delicious.
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My old faithful azalea is full of buds
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Little girls have a special place to sit...they love it because they feel hidden.
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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.
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I designed a bog filter for the 275 gallon stock tank, and my son supplied the muscle.
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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.
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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)
2013-03-31 05:19 pm
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Let's play Name! That! Succulent!

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.

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And I think this is a sempervivum.

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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)
2013-03-19 10:34 pm
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Can't wait to see how this turns out...

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.

sharpchick_2011: (Romani q of s)
2013-03-02 01:54 pm
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In which I get all wet...

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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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...

sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2012-11-10 06:30 pm

Shadow Shot Sunday

It was a glorious autumn morning in the garden...

sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2012-05-28 09:45 am
Entry tags:

Random musings...

Woke this morning feeling stuffy.

While friends and acquaintances were sniffling, sneezing and snorting their way through the yellow haze of tree pollen weeks ago - we had a mild winter and an early spring this year - I was fine.

Must be the grasses...
No real chance of rain in our immediate forecast. Drought, anyone? Unless we have a really topsy-turvy summer, I feel we will have an early drought (and no,'s not summer yet, it's late spring - check your calendar for the summer solstice. Or better yet. get in tune with nature's cycles...).

I just filled the birdbaths again. I have one on a pedestal for the wee titmice, chickadees and the like, and one on the ground for the doves.

Because doves look so awkward and ill at ease perching on a pedestal bath. They need to drink and bathe, too.

The viburnum is loaded with small berries left from its blooms.


The birds probably do not care. For the most part, birds live in the moment, taking food and drink where they can find it. If they cannot find it in their own range, they will look farther out.

Seems there are lessons in that...
My four day weekend has been lovely. Productive where it needed to be, and restful where it did not.

It has given me time to look inward, in a season where I customarily am too busy to do much of that.

I've mused about how RSD has changed my life - in large ways and small.

Last night, I dreamed I curled my left hand into a fist. When I woke, my fingers were trying, but no dice...

This morning, pain and burning are about a 5. I just made multiple trips from garden hose with a one gallon pitcher to the bird baths - pedestal bath takes 3 pitchers, ground bath takes five.

Because the effort of unreeling, stretching and re-reeling the hose was just too much energy.

And during those trips back and forth, I realized ~again ~ that RSD has taught me a valuable lesson.

It - whatever it might be at the moment - is going to take as long as it takes.

And in those extra moments, I have time to observe. See and experience things I might otherwise overlook in favor of just getting a thing done.

As one might expect, some of those observations are about me...
The journey is good.

As is looking within...