Monday, February 25, 2008

No Post This Week

Hi Everybody,
I'm not feeling too good, am really busy and I won't be able to make my usual post this week. I'll try to make one later on but, if not, I'll see you next Sunday.
Bye for now,

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Things That Made Me Smile This Week

This Monday I had a vaction day and started sowing seeds for the far, distant spring and summer seasons. For the first time I began "Winter Sowing" which is mimicing the conditions seeds go through over the winter. For many seeds this enables them to sprout. Winter Sowing uses recycled containers whenever possible and I'd saved yogurt and cottage cheese.
Poke drainage holes in the containers, fill with potting mix, moisten and place the seeds down.
Cover the containers with plastic and cut slits in it.
Put containers outside and wait for the seeds to come up in Spring. Really easy!
I also did some standard indoor seed sowing. Here is Thea examining my expanded peat pellets.

There are pelleted begonia seeds and African impatiens planted here and as of this Sunday they've started to sprout.
And this is a begonia tuber that I'm starting. It looks like a shrunken potato now but later it will have beautiful apricot flowers with white edging.
Can you see the two deer bedding down on the hillside behind our house??
(To the right and left of the big tree.)
I had forgotten about this amaryllis and found it growning in the basement.
A Christmas present angel that will be sitting in the garden this Spring.
Valentine's Day flowers from Steve.
A little grouping on my bookcase. There is a framed poem from my sister, a picture of our late Cairn Terrier Buckley-Rose, high school picture of Ashley, and one of my many spheres. I pick them up whenever I see them and have a little collection. Here are some of them:
Besides ceramic spheres, this basket has rustic acorns made with dried leaves and tiny real acorn tops.
Spheres from various natural and man-made materials as a center piece in the breezeway.
The oblong "sphere" is actually a painted gourd but it still can roll a bit. I just love the colors of these.
Marked way down at Target a few weeks ago.
This lovely lady hangs from a lamp in our bedroom. She is actually a Christmas ornament.
Isn't it amazing how real silk flowers look!
Some cute pug pictures:
That's an empty dogfood bag that Garm is longingly gazing at.

"Daddy's lap is a wonderful place to rest and I look soooooo cute on it."
"I love Garm most of the time even though I snarl and try to bite at him a lot. He's nice to me no matter what I do! "


Bye for now,

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Last Dome And Cabin Fever!

Before explaining the last Dome, I thought I'd let you all know what other things have been going on in my life. As you see from the title, this endless winter is getting to me! Since early December there has been storm after storm and I want to see some green - as in leaves! (The Domes only helped for a little while . . .)
The snow is piled in heaps over 10 feet high in the parking lot at the grocery store, the mail box is just about buried, the pugs have a very limited area that they can use as the bathroom, and the snow is up to the resident deer's knees. The plants that I grow for "winter interest" have been crushed by icey snow long ago, and I traverse the driveway like one of those old ladies who is afraid of "taking a fall and breaking a hip". (Truthfully, I AM afraid of falling and breaking something!!)
Tonight the temperture is -4 with a windchill of -22 and after being outside for less than a minute, the pugs begin to hold up their frigid paws and limping toward the house before finishing their business. And I'm beginning to dislike being inside my cozy little house day after day - or being at work. Ugh! and I had the gall to write on some Canadian friends' blogs how "wonderful and introspective" this time of year was and that I "looked forward to it". I take all of that back - at least for now.
To help ease the pain a bit, I've scheduled a day of vacation tomorrow and am going to plant three varieties of begonias. I'm also going to do some "winter sowing" - starting seeds in recycled covered containers and setting them outside to sprout at nature's whim. It's a new experiment for me and should be very interesting.
I have been enjoying my interest in jazz and have become enamored with pianist Bill Evans, saxophonists Paul Desmond, Jerry Mulligan, Stand Getz and the great John Coltrane. The first three horn players have a much more mellow, "cool jazz" sound while Coltrane is quite intense and climbs to the statosphere at times so they fit any of my moods. Bill Evans' style is varied, smooth and remarkable - cool one time and then hard be-bop the next and always clean and easy to listen to.
My love of learning is being filled with my latest audio course entitled "Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations". It's 36, half hour lectures with a professor from the UK who makes the subject fascinating. I'm already on lecture 32 (dealing with the rise and fall of the late central-American cultures) and I'm going to miss Professor Fagan.
My weight loss efforts are working better than I'd expected. As of today, I've lost 18 pounds and to celebrate I went out and bought 2 pretty sweaters. The rebounder is an excellent exercise tool for me and I have no problem at all with my feet and knees hurting. I actually enjoy working out! And to vary my routines I bought two "Dance Off the Inches" DVDs that contain short sessions that have fun and easy dance routines. I have yet to master either of them because I've got to take time and learn the steps. Cindy and I tried them and were laughing so hard we couldn't accomplish a thing. When Ashley tried them she said they were a lot of the same steps she used when she was a cheerleader! This will be a little bit harder than the "Senior Rebound" . . .
OK, now about the last dome. It is called the Floral Dome and is used for seasonal and holiday display. Every year, after the Christmas display, and until the Easter display the Model Railroad Association sets up their little trains. Usually it looks pretty tacky with the potted flowers and shrubs half buried, limp, crooked and with no kind of theme whatsoever. Well, someone must have woke up and realized how very bad it was because this year there was Gulliver presiding over a really nice display of azaleas, pansies, stocks and various shrubs. As you see they finally did a good job:
"Behave you tiny peoples or I will step on you!!"
See those little regiments coming from the castle.
A rather humble castle, it is.
A nice little farmstead.
These azaleas are beautiful.
Near the train staion.
The man who kept it all running smoothly.

An excellent varigated, braided ficus.

Don't know the name of this, but it was magnificent!
This was also a large shrub. The berries look edible.
If Winter comes,
can Spring be far behind?
Bye for now,

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Arid Dome and a Teaser

After looking over all of my "Domes" pictures, I've decided that there must be 3 blogs on them since there is so much to see. I've put a little "teaser" at the end of this to show you what will be coming next.
First, I forgot to mention that there will be Chinese New Year's celebration at the Domes next week. Below you see what was set up at the entrance with a table nearby explaining the exhibits, workshops and performances that were offered. To the left of this was the Arid Dome.

This Dome housed many desert and semi-arid plants. You'd assume that there would be only cactus but there was all manner of plant life that could flourish in this habitat. And another surprise was that the temperatures were somewhat cool - not hot at all. Much more bearable than the ultra-humid Tropical Dome!

The next picture is of the palm itself.

The parakeets especially liked to nest in the above palm.

Guy looking for parakeets ????

What is amazing to me are all the various adaptations to minimum water conditions that have evolved over the eons. Such diversities of form but all succeeding in the same function! Our world is truly wonderful!

I will explain Gulliver in the next post . . . .
Seeing my birth-cord
Kept at our old
Native place . . .
New Year's Day I wept.

Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!

(I know, Basho was Japanese, but it is still a lovely poem for Chinese New Year.)


Bye for now,