Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Pix (From Nearly a Year Ago)

I recently discovered a large file of digital photos taken in Sweden last year that I never processed or posted.  I'd forgotten all about them!

There are more to come, at some point, but here are the ones I've uploaded so far...

You can see most of them by arrowing back (to the left), but there are a few to the right in the photostream, too. Or if you'd rather, they're on our Flickr photostream page, too, of course. :o)

Garden Update & Floral Photos

It's been a while since the last garden update, for a few reasons.  One, I've been sidetracked by other things, such as the daylily seeds/seedlings.  Two, it's so hooooot and huuuuumid (in my whiniest voice) that I just don't want to be out there more than I have to, so the vegetable beds have been a little neglected.  Three, in addition to the weather, the failure of some of our plants has been discouraging, which has led to even more avoidance.

Broccoli, snow peas, cucumbers, and lettuce, I've already written about.  (Not the right time of year, etc.)  I pulled out the mesclun, because (we think) the hot weather turned it bitter.  (Either that, or we just don't care for its flavor.)

(More) Things That Aren't Doing Very Well:
-- okra (haven't moved them, yet; still think they need more sun...)
--  squash and zucchini (vine borer, I think)
--  Swiss chard (something's eating it, but never took off to begin with...)
--  radishes (at least, something's eating the leaves...)

Things That ARE Doing Well:
--  tomatoes (so far... the "Sweet 100" are producing a lot right now)
--  bell peppers (harvested several nice-sized peppers already; chopped & frozen)
--  chives (practically a no-care plant)

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Next year, I'd like to try a different variety of squash I've been hearing and reading about.  They're supposed to be more resistant to vine borers, for one thing, but they also look and taste different, so it'd be interesting to give them a try.  I believe I'll have to order the seeds online, since they're not (yet) that commonly available, if I understand correctly.

We're considering moving the raised beds to a different location over the winter, too.  Inside the yard, this time, closer to the water source.  (Probably behind the garage.  Plenty of sun, out of sight most of the time, close to the spigot.)  I don't know if we'll actually carry through on that or not, but it's an option.

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A few photos from last week...

The albino daylily seedling:

Albino Daylily Seedling

One of my favorite blooms from the hydrangea, this year... (I like the magenta and purplish flowers, too, but I sometimes wish our hydrangea would bloom in that classic blue.)


Cleome.  I didn't realize (or had forgotten) that they have thorns.  A rainstorm had the biggest cleome leaning over, and when I grabbed onto it to stake it back upright-- ouch!


Passionflower.  (Taken at sunset, as were all these photos...  I rarely go outside that time of day, during the summer.  Mosquitoes, meal prep, etc... I miss the twilight, though.)




Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes.  (They're so pretty, with their gradient from green to red.)

Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes

No photos of it (and it's not much to look at, anyway), but the night-blooming jasmine has begun to bloom.  There aren't tons of flowers, and I couldn't smell it from very far away, but when I took a strong sniff right up close-- phew.  I'm beginning to suspect I'm one of those people who don't care for the scent.  I'll give it more time.  Maybe it's better when diffused on a breeze-- and if it only blooms at night in the summer, I won't be in a position to smell it very often, anyway, most likely.  Donald thought it was alright, but my first impression was of cheap perfume.  Nowhere near as nice as gardenia, banana shrub, roses, or honeysuckle.  On the other hand, it's not as bad as privet, but that's not saying much, because I loathe that smell.  A bit disappointing, but there was no way to know without trying it.

ETA:  I've just read that in India, at least some varieties of night-blooming jasmine are thought to attract snakes.  Something about the plant releasing a chemical that is similar to a snake pheromone.  (Of course, also in India, there's currently a teenage boy, born with a short tail, who's being worshiped as a reincarnated monkey god or something, so...)  I'm pretty sure it's just an old wives' tale, but if I start finding snakes next to the plant, it'll be dug up and burned/put into the trash.  In record time!  ;o)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rant: Government Waste & Personal Responsibility

WKRG did it again!  They tweeted a FB link with the teaser, "Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?"  The link goes to a story with this headline:  "Free Lunches for Mobile Co. Students".  Ooooh, freeeeeee.  Wow-ee.  There really is such a thing as a free lunch, after all.  Cool, man.

...But then you start to wonder... Well, but who is paying for it?  Are the owners of the Food Factory-- you know, that place where all the food gets cranked out, day after day-- donating all these meals out of the goodness of their hearts?  (Nah, just kidding.  Most of these people never think that far.  They hear "free" and, hey, why question it?  Just stick your hand out and grin.  Well, or you can gripe, instead, if your Free Stuff isn't to your liking.) 

For the relatively few who bother to read the article, this is what they'll see:
MOBILE COUNTY, ALABAMA -      No need to pack lunch money for students in Mobile County this year. All students will eat lunch for free, and Mobile County is not picking up the tab. The money will come from a federal program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Mobile County Public School System qualified for the Community Eligibility Provision. This program enables schools with free meals if 75% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

Parents will not have to fill out any paperwork for the free lunch. More than 59,000 students attend the 89 public schools in the Mobile County school system. According to the school system, they served 7.8 million lunches last year.

Reading the (FB) comments below the story is a (sadly, unsurprising) revelation of the kind of... ignorance?  stupidity? whatever-it-is that has put our country where it is today.

Some people, mysteriously, are not thrilled that their federal tax dollars are going to fund this program (among so many, many others).  (I agree, and I'll get into why, later.)

On the other side of the issue are the respondents (because I can guarantee you that not all of them are "readers", since they couldn't be bothered to read two paragraphs before throwing in their two cents) think it's wonderful news.  Free food!  For the children!  And no-one can complain, because the county isn't "picking up the tab"!

Then you have those who are annoyed with the complainers.  "Didn't y'all even read the story?  Gah!  It's free!"  Or to use one person's exact words: "Did any one read the article?!  Mobile county received a agriculture grant to pay for the free lunches... And what that means is that all mobile county school children will receive free lunch for this year."  Someone else replied, "So glad you pointed this out!!! It's a GRANT not costing the tax payers one dime and it's for one school year!!  These people are killing me."

...~sigh of soul-deep weariness~...

Ladies, where, exactly, do you think this magical "GRANT" money comes from, anyway?  Who, precisely, do you suppose funds grants provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hmm?  Here's your answer.  Take that first part-- "U.S."-- remove the "dots" (some might call them periods, but in this modern age...)... Now what does that leave you with?  "US".  Yep, us.  We're the ones paying for this.

You're welcome to have your own reaction to this news, but please, for the sake of my sanity, don't persist in this ridiculous notion that the lunches are, ooooh, miraculously FREE, and that the rest of us have no stake in the matter.  We do. 

There's another type of person commenting, too-- those who acknowledge that taxpayers are footing the bill, but think it's great that our tax money is going to this project instead of "War" or "Big Oil", as it surely would, otherwise.  (Yep, those are the three options: War-Making, Big Oil, or Feed the Children.)  Anyone who questions this spending is a bad, selfish, stingy, awful person-- the kind of person who lives to complain about welfare and delights at the thought of snatching food from the mouths of children.  How dare you call yourself a Christian, in fact?!

Well, if we weren't funding grants of this kind-- and others that, I'll admit, are even more infuriating, wasteful, and unnecessary-- we'd be paying less in taxes to begin with.   How about we get to keep more of our own money and spend it as we see fit?  Maybe more people would be able to feed their own kids, then.

Sidetrack:  Seriously, though, how much does it cost to pack a lunch for an elementary-aged kid?  They don't eat that much, at that age.  My parents paid for three kids' lunches-- and breakfasts, suppers, and snacks, too, of course-- all through our childhoods.  I usually brought lunch from home, and I was fine with that.  (Honestly, most of the time, I preferred the contents of my packed lunches to whatever the cafeteria was serving.)  Mom shopped carefully to stay within a budget.  My parents did what had to be done to ensure we were fed.  I'm sure that sometimes that meant they didn't get to do or buy things they'd have enjoyed, but they had a set of priorities.  Why, oh why, can't almost all other people do the same?

If you are truly needy-- elderly, infirm, beset with unpredictable problems, temporarily unable to provide for yourself-- I don't have a problem with our collectively providing you with the necessities.  I do expect that you be truly needy, though-- not wasting money on "wants" and then sticking your hand out when the cost of providing for those "wants" leaves you with too little to pay for "needs".  Also, whenever possible, I expect that you work toward getting off welfare.  It should be a stop-gap measure only. 

I will not be happy to provide for you if you look upon welfare as an entitlement.  I will not give cheerfully if you are careless and have more children than you can support-- often getting pregnant again when you supposedly can't feed the children you already have.  (I will be furious, actually, if you raise your brood of children to believe that this-- living on welfare-- is the way things are supposed to be-- that there's nothing better to strive for-- unless you're lucky enough to win the lottery or make it big in sports/entertainment.)  I will be angry if you're buying expensive luxury items with your welfare card.  (If we can make do with cheaper foods, by golly, you'd better be doing the same.  You make that money stretch or you give it back.) I will be really angry if you're scamming the system-- selling your welfare card to someone for cash, for instance.  That's theft, plain and simple, and I don't take kindly to being robbed.

Because I am unhappy about the current state of our welfare programs, I guess I'm just not Christian enough.  Oh well. ...Also, I guess I missed that Sunday School lesson that teaches you to keep giving and giving, without consideration to how it's being used.  Charity is part of Christianity, it's true, but charity should be tempered with common sense-- and if it's taken from you against your will, it's no longer really charity.  (It's not doing the recipients any long-term favors, either.  Living on welfare for too long makes you complacent-- takes away the will to work for something better.  If you grow up on the system, you may not even realize that there's another, better way to live.)

Lately, I find that charitable impulses wither in my heart.  It's hard to feel charitable when you see the waste-- the sense of entitlement.  It's not easy to feel like giving of your own volition when the government forces you (through taxes) to "donate" so much to causes and people you don't support.  ...I'm sorry, but if that makes me a bad person, I'm getting worse by the year!

P.S.  And to those who so kindly remark that anyone who has a problem with this is the type of person who would actually be happy to see these poor, innocent little angels dropped straight from HEAVEN go hungry, just to spite their irresponsible parents...  Here's the thing:  I don't believe for a minute that most of these parents are incapable of feeding their kids.  If it comes down to it, most can make adjustments-- even a sacrifice or two-- and those kids will be fed.  (Maybe they'll think twice before having another kid, too, if they know the rest of us are done filling in for the deadbeat baby-daddies.)

For the ones who honestly can't provide a lunch, yes, you need to have a safety net in place.  (Very, very few people would be willing to see a child go hungry and not stop to help.)  The key is that it needs to be a sufficient but spartan and temporary safety net-- not a perpetual bouncy-house.  And yes, I know that I am SO MEAN for not wanting to support millions of someone else's kids forever. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Juvenile Water Moccasin / Cottonmouth

There are snake photos below, including a really blurry one of a snake eating a toad. 

This morning, a thunderstorm woke me, so I hurried out of bed to unplug the important (expensive) electronics.  (Oh, the joys of summertime!  A thousand unpluggings and re-pluggings and unpluggings again!)

Then I opened the kitchen door to peek at my daylily seedlings.  (I'm a bit paranoid about having them rained on too heavily, so I have a beach umbrella over them when there's a risk of rain-- but I'm also paranoid that the umbrella will catch a gust of wind and up-end the whole table... It's a situation fraught with tension, as you can tell.) The seedlings were fine-- but what was that under the table? 

A snake!
I thought it might be just a "brown water snake", because Donald saw one down by the puppy pool a couple of weeks ago (or so).  I woke him, and we looked at it briefly (through the rain-dimmed early-morning light) and said it must be another (relatively harmless) brown water snake.  So back to bed.

But I still wasn't sure.  I prefer the Internet for snake-photos, but the computers/Internet were unplugged-- and it was still thundering-- so I turned to our trusty reptile ID book.  (Nowhere near as good as the Internet, but better than my faulty memory.)  Anyway, the more I looked, the less certain I was.

Another look.  I tried to take photos, but most of them were blurry...

At this point, the snake had his mouth full of toad, so I ventured a little closer... and caught the glint of the eye.

Juvenile Water Moccasin

Back to wake up Donald, because now I was pretty sure it was a moccasin.  Sure enough that I wanted the thing dead, at least, and if it turned out not to be venomous, well, as Donald said, it didn't need to be hanging around the patio, anyway. 

Donald chopped the head off with a hoe and a shovel-- which proved harder than suspected, so we need to sharpen that hoe!-- and we were finally able to get a really good look.

Juvenile Water Moccasin

Definitely a juvenile moccasin.  (Or cottonmouth... Are the names used interchangeably, or is there really a difference between the two?  This one's mouth didn't look white when he opened it during the... "death struggle"... but that's probably because it was stained with toad blood.  Gross.)


Just makes you wonder how long it's been hanging out around our yard... Where it had been yesterday, when the dogs were out and about-- or when I was playing around with plants while wearing open-toe/bare-ankle, slip-on shoes...

Here's the best photo I got during the "trying to ID" period:

Juvenile Water Moccasin

So watch out.  They're definitely out there (as if we didn't already know it)!

ETA:  Those paver-bricks the snake's on are 8 inches long, if you're trying to get a feel for how big it was.  Not that big, in other words.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Progress Pix

The ivy vines on the trellis are slow growers, but at least they're all still green.  ;o)

Ivy Trellis Progress

The passionflower, on the other hand, is growing by leaps and bounds! 

Here it is last time I took a photo of the whole trellis (toward the end of May)...

Passionflower Vine Progress

And here it is today:

Passionflower Vine Progress

There are four blooms open, today, June 12th-- two on each side of the trellis.

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I've been moving our more "common" orange daylilies down to the sides of the shed. I've read that people sometimes think their more unique hybridized daylilies are reverting back to orange (which is physically impossible) for the simple reason that the exuberant orange lilies out-compete their more mild-mannered cousins. I don't want that, so I'm moving the orange daylilies to their own area, where they can take over and crowd and be bullies, if they want.  I think they'll look nice against the red shed, too.  (The main potential problem is that the ones on the north side might not get enough sun.  I'll have to keep that in mind and move them yet again, if they're unhappy.)

The plain ones (not blooming yet) went on one side and the double- (or triple-?) petaled ones on the other. 

Orange Daylilies

Double (Triple?) Orange Daylilies

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These are the only daylily seedlings we got from the first batch of seeds. (The result of disastrous flooding and poor planning.  Maybe inferior seed, too, but I'm not sure about that.)  Still, as long as these are hanging on, it's not a total loss.  (I wonder what colors and quirks are hidden in the DNA of these tender green shoots...)

The Dirty Not-Quite-a-Dozen

Here are the new daylily seedlings on about June 8th:

Daylily Seedlings!

And here they are today (June 12th):

Daylily Seedlings

We planted all but 5 of the 83 seeds, I think. (Those just never germinated, and a few of them were disintegrating and/or molding, so I tossed them.) Almost all of the germinated seeds we planted put up green shoots, and most seem to be doing well, so far. There's one albino (upper left corner), which is interesting, but unfortunately, I've read that those usually die. (You can feed them sugar-water until they get big enough to live off nutrients in the soil-- since they can't get their energy from the sun-- but it sounds very elaborate, and in the end, iffy at best.  I think I'll just have to let that one go.)

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To end on a pretty note, the large gardenia bush is blooming!


New Garden Photos

I've uploaded some new photos from around the flower garden (as well as one crochet WIP photo).

The first few of the new batch were actually taken last year.  They show the 'Clarke's Heavenly Blue" morning glories that took forever to bloom.  We don't have any of that variety, this year, but these photos are a reminder of what a beautiful shade of blue they truly are!

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory

And here are the rest of them:

In looking for those morning glory photos, I found a bulging (digital) folder of photos we took in Sweden, last year.  I don't think I felt up to the challenge of dealing with them all last summer, so maybe I'll tackle them in the next week or two.  (...Which reminds me that I'm also supposed to be choosing photos to have printed...)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dogs, Garage, & Flowers

Trixie loves playing with the water hose-- to the point that if you try to water plants with Trixie nearby, she will bite at the water-- hurl herself after it-- and potentially crush the poor, thirsty plants in the process.  She has to go inside for the sake of the plants' continued well-being (not to mention the continued well-being of my sanity).  But every now and then, we point the hose out over the lawn and let her have at it.

Trixie - June 7th, 2014

She looks like a different dog, when she gets wet.  (True for all long-haired and/or fluffy dogs, I guess.)

Trixie - June 7th, 2014

We've introduced Luna to the hose, too, and she's a little interested, but not nearly to the degree that Trixie is (and maybe that's a good thing).  On the other hand, she displays some interest in the plastic kiddie pool that all our other dogs have shunned.

Luna - June 7th, 2014

Luna - June 7th, 2014

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I'm pretty sure Donald's posted this photo (as well as some of the dog photos above) on FB, so you've probably already seen it, but here's a photo of the garage workbench and cabinets:

Garage Cabinets and Workbench

(Still haven't finished putting everything in place...  Yard work has taken up all "outside time", lately.)

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This past winter got very cold (by our standards) and killed back some plants harder than usual.  The umbrella plants under our covered patio, for instance, are still very slowly recovering.  Nowhere near as tall and lush as they were last year, but they're alive.  The sago palms were also hard-hit.  It's taken them a long time to put out new growth, but they finally have.  (Late May, early June.)

New Fronds on a Sago Palm

I don't know if I had any other options, but the frozen, dead fronds seemed so dead that I just cut them all off.  I don't think they'd have recovered.  The downside of doing that is that removing fronds makes the plant into more of a (very) short tree shape, which I'm not sure I love... But oh well.  It's what the plant wants to do, naturally, so I guess I'll learn to like it.  ;o)  (I'm slowly learning how exhausting it can be to fight what a plant naturally wants to do.  They can be extremely stubborn, plants.)

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This new batch of daylily seedlings is doing so much better than the last!  I'm not sure how much of it is due to better practice and how much is owed to a better supply, but I'm happy.  Now if they'll just stay alive... Daylilies are hardy, so chances are good that most will, I think, so long as I take a reasonable amount of care. 

Daylily Seedlings!

It's sad to think that we won't see blooms from them for at least a year--  maybe two or three.  Worth the wait, though. 

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 Flower photo "slideshow":

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Latest Garden Doings

Latest garden doings:
-- Planted a few more of the sprouted daylily seeds.  Almost all of them have sprouted, and the few left might, too.  The paper that came with them said it could take up to a month...

--  Planted a couple packets of seed.  I've had these for months, but just never got around to dealing with them.  One pack of (annual) black-eyed Susan.  I may have waited too long for those... We'll see.  If so, I'll try again next year.  I enjoy our coreopsis, which reseed themselves pretty well every year.  I hope that black-eyed Susans would do the same.  The second pack was (perennial) purple cone-flower.  I really want to get these started... I'm on the prowl for hardy perennials.  Annuals are nice, but something that comes back year after year is even better. 

--  Transplanted a shrub crepe myrtle ('Victor', supposed to be about 3'x3' with red blooms) from the front/side of the house.  It wasn't doing well in the old spot; in fact, I was surprised when it put out leaves this year, because I thought it was long gone.  Maybe it will be happier in its new location.

--  Transplanted various and sundry other plants from around the yard-- bulbs the identity of which I am not sure and some daylilies that I think are the plain orange type.  I think I'm going to move the latter yet again, because I don't want them crowding out the hybrid daylilies that I plan to (eventually) put in the same area.  These can go down by the shed, maybe... Or along the edge of the garage... Somewhere out of the way.

-- Cut back the English dogwood, because it needed a fresh start.  (Should've done that immediately after blooming, because now it wasted energy putting growth on the old, tired, mostly-dead stalks, but that's ok.  I think it will bounce back.  If not, at least the piece by the bay window is doing really well.)  I dug up two rooted bits and moved them to a couple of different places around the yard (by the front left corner of the garage and at the corner of the covered patio).  One of them alternates between drooping sadly and perking back up, depending on the time of day, but I think it'll settle down soon.  (If I recall correctly, the one by the bay window also went through some theatrics before deciding that life was good again.)

--  Set up the birdbath in a new spot.  I don't know if any birds will use it, but it's there.  (And now I have to remember to keep it clean... I may be too lazy and inconsistent for regular birdbath maintenance.  This one is so heavy, too!  Not easy to empty.)

--  Moved the tiny, sad little clump of what I think is agapanthus (a.k.a. lily of the Nile).  It's dwindled away to almost nothing, and I don't know if I've ever seen it bloom, here.  (It came from Mom, and I remember hers blooming, at the old house.)  From what I'm reading, it sounds like lots of people have problems getting them to bloom, so at least I'm not alone.  ;o)  If I remember, I may try to scrunch it into a small pot, sometime...  (Many people say it seems to like being crowded, and at least that way it would be easy to move it around as I attempt to find the right light situation.)

--  Pulled weeds... including tons of cypress vines.  The little red star-shaped flowers are pretty when the vine's in bloom, but they do drop a lot of seed and pop up everywhere the next year.  I'm pulling most of them out, this year, where I find them.  I still haven't decided whether or not to let one or two of them stay... Maybe up by the front fence... I'm not sure I'll be diligent enough to get them all, anyway.  They're very easy to pull, fortunately, but there are so many of them! 

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Fresh from the Garden

Here's some of the produce from our garden.  A couple of bell peppers (already chopped and frozen for use in that "Wendy's chili" recipe we make fairly often), a handful of cherry tomatoes, and a "regular" tomato that ripened early. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

"Political Diversity"

This is a politically-themed post.  If you're here for photos and innocuous garden-based posts only, you'll want to skip this one.  :o)

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I don't know if WKRG hired a new "media consultant" or one of the existing employees got a bee in his/her bonnet, but someone has been posting a lot more often on Twitter, lately.  (...Well, unless I just started following their account recently without noticing it. Which is possible, during some of that bad weather we had a month or two ago...)

Anyway, this morning's Twitter link back to the dreaded FACEBOOK was this:  "If you live in Baldwin County you may have noticed a common theme with the upcoming election.  Do you think there is enough political diversity in Baldwin County?"

(And then there was a terribly blurry and amateurish photo of some of those ugly "candidate signs" that people stick along the roads before elections.  I mean, seriously, anyone with even a moderately-intelligent smart phone could take a better photo with their eyes closed.  Someone could probably draw them a better picture with a box of Crayolas.  (g)  But that's all beside the point...)

First, the very way they pose that question irks me.  Hm.  I wonder what they think the answer should be... (More on that in a minute.)

Second, since they ask about "political diversity" I assume they're referring to the fact that this is primarily (and by "primarily", I mean "far and away") a conservative/Republican county-- in a "red state", to boot.  But really, it doesn't matter what kind of diversity they're oh-so-subtly suggesting might be lacking... because my answer is that, no, I don't care about diversity or lack therof in this matter.  (Actually, enforced diversity doesn't appeal to me at all, in most matters.)

As far as I know, nothing and no-one is stopping anyone else from running for these offices (or other offices, when those positions come up for grabs).  Now, possibly the reason that there aren't many (any?) democrats running this time is that they are familiar with the local political waters and know that they don't have a serious chance of winning, if they run as democrats.  Do I care?  NO.  If it mattered that much to me, I'd probably have to move somewhere else, because (again) democrats are out-numbered around here.

That brings me to things that do worry or concern me...

-- I am concerned that with so many people flooding into our county, its character (political and otherwise) is bound to change.  I worry that I won't recognize the personality of this place-- the only place I've ever lived!-- in another few decades.  I don't want people bringing us down with a whole fleet of other sinking ships, and I'm afraid they will... (That may sound funny, coming from a woman who married "an outsider" from a country that's very different from the U.S., politically.  (g)  Yes, but I made sure of his personality and beliefs beforehand. ;o)) 

-- I do worry that "Republican" doesn't mean what it meant 30 or 40 years ago.

-- I'm frustrated that I can't believe what candidates say they stand for.  Instead, I'm convinced that many (if not most) would tell a thousand lies without batting an eye, if they thought it would advance their political careers.  I'm disappointed that politics is a lifelong career for so many of these people-- and that they still turn around and expect us to honor them for their so-called "public service".  Yeah, it's not "public service" anymore, for most of you.  You make a career of it, and you are generously recompensed in the form of pay, power/influence, and shady inside deals for you and your families.  You will not get my automatic respect and gratitude, too.

Meanwhile, WKRG asks, "Do you think there is enough political diversity in Baldwin County?"  There's an implied answer.  ("No, of course there's not!  A democrat should waste his time and money in a hopeless bid for power!")  Really, how are you supposed to answer "yes" to that?  "Yes, I think there's enough political diversity, even though you just pointed out in your previous statement that there's a 'common theme with the upcoming election'."

We know that diversity is all-important, these days-- even more important than qualifications and just deserts and getting the best person for the job.  If you aren't for more "diversity", then there must be something deeply, horrifyingly wrong with you.  How can you ever have enough diversity?!

Another strike against you, WKRG.  I find myself tuning in to your news coverage less and less frequently, and this latest delight isn't changing my mind.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Progress Report (No Photos)

Over the weekend, we did some garage organizing and cleaning.  It's not finished, but already much better.  We've put mini-blinds in the windows on the south-facing side and have blinds ready to go into the east-facing side, when we get around to it.

The ping-pong table (oh, excuse me, "table tennis" table (g)) is out there, now, and we've played a few times already.  What a relief to have it out of the house!  Of course it's hotter (and more humid) out in the garage than in the house, but on the other hand, the table is no longer taking up precious space in our main room, blocking the view (and natural light), and being an eyesore.  I think we'll actually be more likely to play now, despite the lack of A/C.

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The new daylily seeds arrived sooner than expected.  These had instructions to wrap them in a damp paper towel, put them in a Ziploc bag, and keep them warm and moist until germination, which could take up to a month.  ...Yeah, it took about a day.  I got a bunch of pots ready, and Donald helped me plant all but ten of the seeds, which we held back because they looked like they could use a little more time.  The pots are on trays on the covered patio, out of Luna's reach.  I'm going to do my very best to see that these turn into real plants that will grace us with flowers in a year or two.  That means watering (from the bottom) once or twice a day (for a while, at least) and possibly moving them around to avoid violent downpours.  I hope that we'll have a higher success rate, this time around... I think we should, but let's not jinx it by being too optimistic.  ;o)

Oh, and there were 83 seeds.  (The listing was for "60+" seeds, so at least they were generous!)  That means 73 seeds planted, so far... Plus the dozen teensy daylily plants that made it from the last batch (assuming that they're all really daylilies... and I'm not sure about two or three of them).

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The Spanish lavender's still hanging in there, despite its reputation of disliking the combination of heat and humidity.  (Who does like that combo?)

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The ivy (on the trellis by the kitchen door) is slowly growing.  Emphasis on "slowly".  I've read that ivy likes a mulch of coffee grounds.  I'm going to have to start drinking coffee.  Donald doesn't like the taste, so he won't be any help in this area.  I'm ambivalent about the flavor, myself, but since I'm too shy to beg Starbucks for coffee grounds, I'll just have to make some of my own. (g)

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The passionflower vine, on the other hand, is growing very nicely.  I think it's bigger than the photo I posted last week, even!

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Our morning glory vines are slowly growing.  This variety (Grandpa Ott) is blooming much, much earlier than the Heavenly Blue did, last year, but the vines haven't really taken off like those did.  There's still plenty of time, of course.  Next year, it might be nice to try both varieties at the same time.  (I'd also like to try moonflowers, if I can remember to look for seeds next year.  Now is a good time to start a spring-planting wishlist.)

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The new Knock Out Roses are all doing pretty well, I think-- including the small one Mom gave us.  I need to fertilize them (and a lot of other things, too).

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Though most of the hummingbirds that were visiting earlier in the year seem to have moved elsewhere, I saw one this afternoon.  It was visiting our newly-blooming white-flowered rose of sharon (small tree-form hibiscus).  The other rose of sharon, which has lavender blooms, hasn't started flowering just yet.

We have a third rose of sharon that I thought had died.  Just a bad location for it, I guess.  Well, this spring I noticed short sprigs with the characteristic leaves coming up again, so I moved it to a new spot.  Long story short, it got mowed down not once, but twice.  Incredibly, it's still trying to survive, and I think everyone knows where it is, now, so it shouldn't be mowed down again.  (g)  If that plant makes it after all that, it will have truly earned its place in the garden, poor thing!