Sunday, May 16, 2010

Showers nourish my garden

After a somewhat tedious start we are getting some regular showers now which doesn't have me scrambling out of bed early to soak everything before the dragon sun comes up. Here is a lovely shot of my brussel's sprout cloaked in dew. I need to make setting up a water barrel and irrigation system this fall a priority. I don't like relying on the hose for all our garden water as out in the country you don't want to run the well dry and the subdivisions popping up everywhere around here are hard on the aquifer as it is. So when those dark clouds gather and the breeze starts to rush I breath in a sigh of relief. Watering is fine and good but a good storm soaking seems to breath fire into the garden. Suddenly tomatoes make a mad dash out of the ground and the seeds of things you've put into the ground to start just burst right out...most of the time.

I spotted this gent on my corn and lightly brushed him away. I'm not sure if he was beneficial or not but I do know that this will probably be the year of the bug. Is it because this is the second year of our garden and they know where to go now? Was it the extra moisture from all that snow that birthed these insects? Who knows. All I know is I had relatively little trouble with bugs but now this year they are a bigger pain. I've never had problems with cut worms but this year they killed several tomatoes and I will never harden off tomatoes again without sticks or nails. I've also freaked to discover some of my pepper seedlings sucked under and digested by caterpillars in the seed starting tray. The latest was a worm eating my newly sprouted corn. AHH! I've heard several people suggest different dusts, sprays, and covers. I decided not to put up the fence this year and I enjoy wandering in and out of my garden unfettered and have yet to have any animal damage. I've planted plenty and will just endure the bugs this year. It's enough to have the recycled bottle watering spikes as an eye sore. I'd rather not drape netting and garden fabric over everything. We'll see. There are other ways of doing things.

I was excited to see the corn pop up but not all the 5 seedlings in each matrix came up. I waited a week to see if any stragglers were late in coming but alas nothing. While watering the tomatoes this morning I made the discovery that I had planted a row of corn between them and the peppers. Thank goodness for insurance policies like that. I had totally forgotten that I planted that and quickly went about scooping the sprouts up lightly and popping them in where the the duds had been. I dug lightly around in the hills for the duds before that and sure enough each one had molded. I guess sweet corn can be a pain that way. My cinderella pumpkins (Rouge Vif D'Etampes) haven't sprouted yet either but maybe it is because they have a longer germination period. I may start some inside just in case.

Here is my ugly pumpkin (Galeux D'Eysines) that I'm sure to consider beautiful. I planted two in the three sisters patch and three in the old potato hill above the tomatoes. It is a winter squash from France that comes out a pink and then develops sugar scarification as it ages. It's supposed to be delectable in soup, sauces, and pie but I'm hoping to make some pumpkin curry. Delish!

This is also the year of the pumpkin for me as I've got this weird fascination for them. Here is a shot of the tan cheese pumpkin coming up. This thing is a monster. I've never seen a squash sprout so big and I swear to god that it grows centimeters in the time it takes me to turn and water something and then turn around again. I hope it's a good squash and won't get a taste for blood and decide to throttle me because at the rate this thing is growing I don't think I could fend it off. Sadly, it's companion was ravaged by a bug.

I gave this guy a few days because I could see the beginning of an adult leave but alas because it didn't have the energy it could've had from its first leaves it foundered. Still being May I just popped another seed in the ground and hope for the best. But lets examine the survivor pumpkin on steroids.

The little monster is nestled next to the shed and I can only guess at how big it might get if I continue watering it.

The peppers are content in the humidity and I have a feeling that will a little more rain fall they will take off too. They are thankfully receiving minimal insect damage at the moment.

I found this specimen one afternoon while having tea on the porch. I grew potatoes as an afterthought last year near the porch at the back of the house. The ants and slugs got those and left me with just potato skins so I decided not to do that again this year. This must be from a potato that I didn't find. I saw in sprouting and decided that if it was willing so was I. I've since also learned about earthing up to produce more potatoes so I'm interested to see how this one might do.
This is definitely a nice change from the blizzarding this past winter.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Appearance of a Good Omen

So, after the whirl of my upcoming show in July is over I plan on working on some projects that I have been putting off. One of those in particular is a collection of works dedicated to my omens. On my own growing up I began to mark signals of being on the right path or even just special acknowledgements as sightings of different creatures that one normally doesn't see. I now realize that some of this is simply being cognizant of your surroundings and taking the time to actually look. At any rate, I have a collection of creatures that I consider to be good omens. I'll share one with you right now.
After my shift at the hospital was over I was entertaining particularly good thoughts because I was now looking ahead to a nice weekend off and I was breathing and functioning on my own. Working at a hospital ICU will make you grateful for such things. The weather was pleasant and the breeze was nice. The moon was full and highlighting a beautiful display of cumulus clouds. I was contemplating people's fortunes and thinking that if a stressful environment washes the body in cortisol that it manufactures itself then perhaps a smooth and good demeanor washes the body is beneficial chemicals and heals wounded parts. Perhaps that's the key to life anyway is to be naturally happy.
When I arrived at my house I decided to pull the car around to the side of the kitchen. When I looked up I saw this lovely specimen perched on the kitchen window sill. She's the first Luna Moth of the season for me. I assumed she was a she because I don't really know how to sex a Luna Moth but I was guessing such. She was happy to crawl on my hand and didn't want to go back to the window but I knew I couldn't take her in the house. She even stayed the night and was waiting for breakfast in the morning. That's when I shot these photos. Her poor little wings were chewed on the ends but she had beautiful colors and lovely antennae. Her little purple legs were fat and fluffy and her charcoal eyes were peacefully nestled in her downy pale yellow face. As the sun rose and began to grow warm I went for a jog and by the time I got back she was gone but I did enjoy her visit and I hope she went on to make many children who will come back and visit me again.