Saturday, October 17, 2009

That's IT! The Winged Garden is having a face lift

I'll bet you thought I was kidding when I said I was "busy making terrible landscaping mistakes", well, dang me, dang me, it's all true.

One of my biggest mistakes, and one I shall never repeat, let me assure you! was mulching for the Winter with straw. bright, fresh, bedding straw. Which, as the Spring came creeping along, germinated into lush, rooty, tall and pugnacious grasses. They have completely over run all my perennials. Plus, they have harboured the shrews and vholes, the bane of my Winged Garden's existance. Those evil rodentia ate the roots off all of my phormiums, and my EverGold Sedge. I don't even know what else they got their grubby little mitts on!

So this Winter, as the weather permits, I am going to pull, yank, cut and pummel the grasses into submission. Once they are properly submissive, I plan to use the newspapers that I have been collecting for 2 years, and lay them down to smother what's left. I shall cut out holes and spaces for the remaining perennials who are still fighting the good fight.. Such as a wonderful Geranium sanguineum 'Elke'.(or cranesbill) that I propogated at Clackamas Community College with jenny Ward 9the greatest propogation teacher in the whole wide world!); 2 beautiful Firepower Nandinas ; a Common Upright Rosemary Officianalis which is not listening to the naysayers about its' tenderness in my Zone; the Buddleias - a Royal Red , a couple of Black Knights ; and a couple of the standard Common lavender with the orange centers .. And most of the Lavenders made it. The Scarlet Monardo made it, as well as the Salvia Officianalis 'Purpurascens'. Mine's a much darker purple, tho, and it always sings as I pass by it. (You know the tune! and lookie what I found!) I think the golden sage made it as well. The Lucifer Crocosmia made it, but I do not know whether the Emily McKenzie made it, (I have another pot of that in the greenhouse, tho.. Yay!) and I don't know if the Solfaterre made it... I shall have to find another, and protect it from the ravages of the root scourges. I LOVE the foliage of this crocosmia!

Everything else is either smothered, yet to be re-discovered, or sacrificed to the dining pleasure of the shrews and vholes. Whom, as you remember, I loathe.

So, I think I shall do my best to remove all the grasses, lay down newspaper mulch, cover that with a thick layer of bark mulch, clean around the surrounding plants, and mulch heavily with the back chips.

Then I shall drag my ceramic bathtub up from the blackberry prison that it has been trapped in, and fill it with soil. I shall plant my phormiums and some trailing plants in the bathtub, something which will hide the back of the tub. Then I'm going to collect all my wine barrels, and cedar boxes, and place them around inside the Winged Garden, and plant them up with the plants which the vholes and shrews showed such interest in. I'm going to pull out a big stump, and put my solar-powered fountain on top of it, and my two sun chasers around.

A new look! A new plan! Perhaps a little ambitious, but I'll bet it'll look pretty cool! Well, this is exactly what Winter is for. To plan how to correct terrible landscaping mistakes!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Where The Wild Things Should Be

Earlier, I wrote about the loss of one of Denali's greatest advocates, the Champion of the Toklat wolves. As I was researching his death, I came across some very disturbing posts.

This One Is Defective

I could go on and on, and post all the hateful, painful, evil posts from these people. On another introductory page, they state "NO Flaming", however this website proceeds to vent i a most un-Christian-like manner.

I fully realize that I am a tree-hugger. I am so green, I glow in the dark. I am not an animal rights nut, but I AM an advocate for animal welfare. I just don't understand how someone can claim themselves a "human" and state:

"Looks like the lowlife POS mercenary (or whore, whichever you prefer) for the likes of PETA, HSUS and FoA, could get crossed off the list." and "this is the POS that lead the campaign against aerial wolf control counter to the recommendations of evey other wildlife biologist that did a study on the impact of wolf predation on the ungulate population.

He's an independent "biologist" because he is in the pocket of radical animal rights groups who need his credentials to give them an illusion of credibility."

I am sad for these people. I truly am saddened that they are so disconnected, so defective, so sparse of heart that they could believe this was acceptable posting.

So I find myself having to forgive them, having to Bless them, because they are defective God, take 'em on back and recycle 'em.

Me? I'm with you, Gordon. Thanks for your dedication. Thanks for your mentorship. Thanks for your passion.

and for the hate-mongers? Well, just Bless Your Heart.


The Denali Wolves have lost their biggest Advocate

Yesterday, biologist and noted wolf advocate Gordon Haber was killed in a plane crash doing what he loved best: following the Toklat wolves in Denali National Park.

The Backpacker in their Daily Dirt Blog ran the story. The pilot survived with burns, and after a harrowing 20 mile walk, is now being treated at a Seattle burn center. BACKPACKER Senior Editor Tracy Ross, who spent a significant amount of time in the field with Haber, had this to say:

"This is a sad day in AK history. I never met anyone with so much passion or such singularity of focus. As eccentric as Haber could be, he was a devoted wolf advocate and Alaskan icon. He'll be missed by many."

Ralph Maughn's Blog has some wonderful thoughts from readers.

Tracy Ross was also working with with Dr. Gordon Haber on a wonderful piece called "The Dogs of War: Hunting Denali Wolves" It is a beautiful and sad piece of writing.

He'll be missed by more than the people who knew him. The world of wild wolves will miss his advocacy. Haber's website, Alaska Wolves is filled with wonderful research about the real lives of wolves, and strips away so many of the old cobwebby myths.

I know you'll be met at the Rainbow Bridge by many of the wolves you championed. I'll light a candle to help you light your way. I will miss you in the world, miss knowing you were on the job, miss you just being there, fighting the good fight, fighting for those much maligned wolves who can't speak out for themselves. Go with God, Gordon. We'll see yas on the flip side.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blog Action Day: Global Warming? Why, It's COLD out there!

Post Script

Ever since I moved from San Diego up to this rural Paradise where I now call Home, I've been teased about worrying about Global Warming. It still snows here. It still rains here. Folks haven't noticed such a big difference.

But where I came from, there is a HUGE difference. I was raised in a very rural part of east county San Diego, at the foothills of the Cleveland National Forest. It used to snow there every other year. There hasn't been snow there for upwards of 20 + years. The summers now range in the triple digits for weeks into months now, not a couple of errant days. As long as you can bring water to the plants, there is no "out-of-season".. BUT "bringing water to the plants" is now problematical, as the Colorado River is being sucked dry, as is the Sacramento River. Summers are now filled with brown-outs and water rationing as the status quo. I go to visit my Mom every Winter, and walking down the streets of my old hometown is a jarring, jangley experience. It's dry, it's rustley, it's dusty and thirsty and parched. And the places where water still roams wild, those places are still brown along the edges, crispy, sad, with cracked mud like aged ancient sun stroked skin.

There is no more "non fire season" in San Diego. San Diego now has a twelve-month long fire season. Winters are brown and dusty, and what little rain that comes gets sucked away, or washes away the top soil in gullies from the previous burns.

The land is parched, the people disconnected from the land. The land is being cut up, chopped up, burnt and fenced off, the forests burn unchecked. Is it any wonder that SoCal people feel disconnected from the land? I can only imagine how it feels to be a real City person... I know I couldn't do it.

So from my vantage point, busy making terrible landscaping mistakes up here in the Great Pacific Northwest where rain is free falling right from the sky with nary an impediment, Global Warming is a fact of life. It affected me deeply. It chased me from my birth home. It still affects me.

I shut the water off when I brush my teeth. I worry when the water takes a bit to warm up in my shower, worry that I'm wasting water, but I just cannot brace myself to take cold showers up here. I resist allowing the hose to trickle in that NW trick of fooling the freeze. I wrap the faucets up in bubble wrap, instead. I'm piecing together rain barrels. I should have them up and ready next year. I worry about watering my gardens, and I figure that I need to divert that run-off into a source where I can tap it.

My other project is to see if I can tap the washing machine grey water for watering the landscape plants. That shouldn't be TOO hard, but I will need help in accomplishing it...

I have pictures of it snowing in Flinn Springs. I have memories -- not pictures, mind you, because we got into too much trouble skidding down the snowy hill in our new white britches --which got quite ruined-- on our butts as kids! This was in 1962.
I shall find the pictures of our wee home nestled in a blanket of snow. San Diego in a Norman Rockwell dream sequence.

So when my neighbors and room-mate tease me about being so water-conscience (or paranoid as it is also called), or when they laugh at me about my belief that Global Warming is not a myth, I shall nod, and go about the business of trying to prepare for the time when the PNW is under water rationing.

Since my career is now in horticulture, I watch articles about climate and how it affects insects and fungus. The nursery business is particularly susceptable to infestations of both of these pests.

I notice that White Pines in the PNW have been hit very hard by overwintering beetles. I notice that quarantines have affected the Nursery industry, in particular regarding transportation of plants. Oregon State put out an excellent and frightening article about the affects and unknown qualities of
Phytophthora ramorum

I found these articles to be quite disturbing:
Assessing the consequences of global change for forest disturbance from herbivores and pathogens

Mountain Pine Beetle

Doesn't this look familiar?

And what about my home town? Estacada is "The Christmas Tree Capital of the World"... How does global warming affect this beautiful rural heaven? When Winters don't have hard freezes, when Winters are mild, these bark beetles can overwinter in the forests and in the tree lots.

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) can only do so much. Look at this article about the Christmas Tree industry and all the things they must do to grow the trees we routinely throw away come New Years' :
Integrated Pest Management in Christmas Tree Production
What can we do when the Winters remain mild, and the bettles come to eat? We NEED the cold -- the hard cold, the hard freezes-- that kill these invasive and devasting pests. Not to mention the ability to ship non-infected trees and shrubs to other nurseries across the state. Oregon economy is dependant on the Nursery industry. There's been a 17% decrease in Nursery sales and I don't believe that that fact is wholely reliant upon the economy. Much of the decline is due to crop failures and damage.

I dunno. I just think it's pretty odd that there are so many folks who don't believe in this thing called Global Warming when, to me, it's all around me. In my short 50+ years, it's wrapped me 'round with it's tentacles of fear and worry. So I'll just frown and keep my worry to myself, and keep watching the weather, and keep saving water, and keep on being as sustainable as possible.


Blog Action Day! I'm In, are you?

Addendum: In beautiful and relatively unknown Maldive, the political party there is taking Global Warming pretty darned seriously. It's been hypothesized that their island will be underwater by the end of the century. I wonder if our American naysayers, if THEY lived in Maldive, would they be so certain that climate change was a hoax put on by the radical tree-hugging Left? I think not.

Off to muse with my muse....


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

Thanks to the Wonderful Garden Faes at Carole's place, I am at long-last able to get some bloom pics up for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and a tad early, since tomorrow's post will be about the Blog Action Day on Global Warming. (I hope you shall join me there! Or at least read my post :~)

So! Once again, I had to borrow blossoms from the Garden Center which one day, in a Universe Far Far Away, will have its' website up. Yay Verily. So withot further ado, here goes....

Irish Eyes Black-Eyed Susans. These green-eyes beauties are just lovely in a mass planting! I'm going to add some to my kniphifia along the frontage road..

Everyone at the Garden Center helped with this display. We hosted the Good Morning Estacada breakfast meet & greet, and held it in our display area, full of fountains, and flowers. I baked cookies for three days!

The baby Crepe Myrtles! After getting lost in shipment during a heat spell, they decided they liked us, and started blooming. I simply MUST have one for Wolfdancer Creek! Where's that darn shoehorn???

The habeneros are finally fruiting. Yes, I know, not blooms, but YUMMY hot! I ain't eatin' 'em, tho! My Mama dinna raise no fool!

I sure like this display.. Mums and Weigela.

I caught the rain drops on the penstamon. I love penstamon. Such a happy little shrub.. All gypsy wild and freely giving of its' richness of blossom.

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens...

Last but definitely not least, roses.

Thanks for coming along! on my magical mystery tour...


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wake Me When It's Warm Out There

We have now had our first "official" frost. October 4th, o'dark hundred. It was a light frost, but it heralds something I had much prefered not to deal with yet. I am still lodged firmly in Summer, and the rest of the world has glided into Winter. How did that happen? I still have to put my garlics to bed for the Winter! EEEK! I shall endeavor to do that as soon as I get A day off from work.

I have managed to give the Sundance Kitty her 150 ml of saline subQ. *happy*happy*joy*joy* She seconds that emotion. She hates it, and her poor skin about the top of her shoulders is all prickly with needle holes. She looks like a closet junkie who's trying to go straight, hiding the tracks between her toes. She just hates it. She feels so much better when I give her her injection, but she doesn't connect the prick and discomfort of the cold saline squishy beneath her skin, and the immediate increase in appetite and perkiness.

I am saddened greatly that I can't take her to the Vet's. I know what she needs, and obviously I can do the daily-to-twice-daily administrations of saline, but I can't afford the office visit and the meds I know she needs. Vets are charging $50.oo just to open the door and say hello now-a-days. So I worry and feed her tuna, and give her injections. So if you have time, send a prayer for her to rally and get well.

It's been a crazy week, heck, in all honesty, it's been a crazy YEAR.. It seems to have just flown by so quickly. I find myself very resistant to that idea. I have grown accustomed to the gentle caress of sun and breeze. Winter can come, and I will embrace it, but I'm NOT DONE with my tomatoes ! :~( People keep telling me that this how you know you're getting old, is when time begins to fly by.. But I will NOT go gentle into that good night! I will, by God, shake my fist and rave! rave! to the dying of the light.

I am wearing my thermals now at work, with gloves, and 2 pairs of socks, thermal socks with wool socks over them in my heavy duty water-proof & insulated work boots. (Yer Gardener wears army boots!) We don't have our wood stove installed, it was pulled out around February when Marcos & Tim finished the display room. Turns out that wood stoves, when pumped up good and hot, turn drywall into a flammable, compustable fire fodder. You couldn't touch the handrail wall without getting uncomfortably toasted. So they removed the stove so we could insulate the walls with stone, and install a stone flooring for the stove to safely rest upon. And there it sits, still nekkid, still un-insulated, stove-less. And now it is getting downright nippy inside! My customers miss the cheery warmth and flicker of the stove.

I got my referral to the orthropedic specialist, it comes at Thursday Nov. 5th. Now we shall see what my options will be for my poor beleaguered hip.

And speaking of tomatoes, which we were, but much earlier, I have tried a new method of preserving my tomatoes. I gathered and cleaned and sliced up several pounds (close to six pounds) and I dried them in my dehydrator. When they were done, I placed them in a tall capped jar, and layered them with fresh basil. Then I poured extra virgin olive oil up to the top, capped the jar, and placed it in the fridge. Hopefully, they will turn out yummy. Next time, I think I shall call them done out of the dehydrator a couple hours earlier, and make them not quite as dried. That will be the only thing different. It looks beautiful, like garden jewels. And I like sun-dried tomatoes in omelettes and other dishes which call for tomatoes. I didn't use Romas, as everyone said I should, because I don't much care for the TASTE of Romas. I used the big juicy heirlooms that I grew. They are REALLY tasty, and this drying process is SUPPOSED to intensify the tomato taste. We shall see.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Autumn Maple Helicopter Dragonflies

The leaves are beginning to turn their Summer tresses in for showier fare. My Coral Bark maple is a shade of orange which is so vibrant it shimmers, it hurts the eyes, it hurts the brain to gaze too long at it, and yet I cannot tear my eyes away. It is beginning to acquire the pagoda-look I love so much about these delicate dainty Japanese maples, and although it is still quite small, not even three feet tall yet, it is every bit as lovely as I had hoped it would be when I planted it.

It's partner in crime, the Fern-Leafed Maple, while taller and wider, is also doing its' job displaying color in an area which had been devoid of any color besides grey and green. The Fern-Leafed Maple is dressed in deep burgundies and bright reds, her skirts flirt and skirl with every errant breeze, her leaves the size of my hands.

In between the two maples is my Rainbow Leucothoe, which I think I need to transplant. It is too far into the shade, and is not picking up the rich violet hues this evergreen shrub is noted for. Its' leaves swirl with chartreuse and creams, held erect with red stems. But it needs those violets and reds in the leaves to shine as it should.

These three are doing just exactly what I wanted them to, tho. Fall color, and Winter interest along the pond ridge.

At work today, the wind picked up and it has been quite cold. We're due for a bit of a freeze tonight, and I have some plants to protect in my garden. I have my paw-print beanie on, and chamois gloves. I've not been warm all day. I forgot my thermal socks. As I was walking out to show a customer a soil mix, the wind snatched up a load of maple seeds and tossed them hither and yon. They floated down on helicopter wings like whirlygigs, hundreds of them. They filled the air with silent flitting spinning dragonfly wings.

I let my Inner Child -never very far from the surface- out to play, to wonder, but none of the grown-ups around noticed the wee miracles spinning from the heavens like little post-it notes from God, and they were all too busy to wonder with me.

I'm sorry they missed it. I am glad I was watching.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

I've Been Tagged!

I've Been Tagged!

Now this is REALLY cool, because I don't really know what a meme is. HOWEVER, Since Happy was gracious enough to include the basic tenet within her post, I caught the ghist of it. How cool!

SO! Here goes the Rules?
whereby I have to reveal seven interesting facts about myself. That's difficult! Especially since there's so many weird and unusual things I could write about ...

The Seven Stupidest Things I've Ever Done comes to mind.. But I shall endeavor to spare you, Gentle Reader, such an ordeal.

To participate in the Meme Award, you need to:

- link back to the person who gave you the award;
- reveal seven things about yourself;
- choose seven other blogs to nominate and post a link to them
- let each of your choices know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog;
- and finally let the tagger know when your post is up.

So, onto the gristle of the biscuit...Wait. If my biscuits got gristle in 'em, I ain't cookin' 'em right...

Happy Mouffetard, that Notable Who Was Censored by the Dear Clueless Folks at the BBC Gardener's World for her OH SO offensive nickname, (read all about it HERE I mean, really Dear Ones, the BBCGW needs to get out more) Tagged me. You can read more of her adventures HERE Not to mention Happy is the Birth Mother of 'Lets All Post Cat Photos And Dire Poetry On Our Blogs' (LAPCPADPOUB*) Day' A Day which SHOULD be an International Holiday, but isn't.

Seven Things About Myself That You May Or May Not Guess:

1) I am ruled by animals. I share my life with 7 wolfdogs; 5 goats, one of which is AWOL, so I must go tromping about the back 40 searching for her when I get home; 5 male critically endangered Ancona ducks, whom we are breathlessly awaiting Dates for come Spring; 3 Guinea Hens, down from 13.. Making me think perhaps they are not nearly as smart as I thought they were; and at last count, 15 cats, all rescued ferals. I gave up my bedroom until I can build a Kattery and now sleep in the Living Room with the 2 oldest kitties. Now is that not just flat-out crazy or what????

2) I am prejudiced against certain foods, and am trying to overcome it. Porkchops. Chicken Fried Steak. Eggplant. Okra. So I am on a mission to create edible recipes designed specifically to change my mind about these poor maligned food substances! The eggplant, so far, is a HUGE win for vegetables everywhere.

3) I always plant about 6 tomato plants too many. It's not done 'till it's overdone. Tomatoes are the Bling of the Garden Set.

4) I love photography! Life is filled with these myriad vignettes and flashes! I wish I could plug my brain into a computer and download some of these images when I forget my camera or more film. I have reams of notebooks filled with descriptions of what I see. I have never been sure if it all was really THERE, tho...

5) I dream in Technicolor, with a full soundtrack. Life is filled with sound & special effects!

6) I hate getting dirt under my fingernails, but love playing in the soil with plants. That's why I wear gloves, to lessen the nail gunk. And as an added bonus, I don't have to feel slug juice on my fingers when I wear gloves.

7) I am very chaotic, which creates difficulties for the Obsessive-Compulsive side of me!

And so, I pass this meme on to the following bloggers. There's no pressure to take part! (But it'll be pretty if ya do! *grin*) In no particular order except the chaotic one in my noggin:

1)May Dreams Gardens with the Hopes that the Garden Faes will pipe up

2) The Mad Gnomes Because Gnomes and Gardens natually and spontaneously combust with joy

3) Weeder's Garden Who, unbeknownst to herself, was one of my Blog Mentors

4) Wishnik Woods a delight filled with magic. All I have to do to smile is click on her Blog link, and BAM! I feel the grin stretching my cheeks.

5) Talented Animals Roland is one of the most incredible writers and arguers I've ever met. Wish Pops would have met him, those two would have burned the airwaves up with musings and constructive arguments. Roland & Lauren are 2 of the finest animal people I have had the great Honor to have met in my life.

6) Musings From the Cascade Foothills This is my Roomie's Blog. She has quite recently discovered that she has a wonderful, Earthy, and delighful Gift for writing. I love her stories!

7) Shiba Guys Because I love their writing style! And check out their Earth Box Rox! post!

8) Thanks For Today Because she always reminds me that Today is a Gift, that's why they call it the present.

and 9) Bliss! Who gives me terrible cases of the *giggles* and introduced me to lapcpadpoub and Happy Mouffetard, and OH how the circle closes!

Thanks Happy for the Tag! *whew!* My fingers are cold ! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

PS~ I should have some neat pictures soon...


The Sunflower Boy's Smile

Every once in a while, a story just hits you in the gut. This one did me.

The Sunflower Boy's Smile

I think I shall always see his sunny smile in the sweet faces of the sunflowers as they nod in the sun.