Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gardening in a semi-arid climate

I've got a side-gig blogging over at Birds and Blooms magazine's website, and this week I am doing a short series addressing things we can do to help our gardens when we live in a semi-arid climate. Check it out here: Tips for gardening in a semi-arid climate

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The best laid plans...

...gang aft agley, as the poet Robbie Burns said. And mine have been agleying all to yell and beyond this week. The astute reader will note that my little ticker has not moved much, and that's because on Wednesday I came down with some sort of stomach bug that has refused to leave my system. Or maybe it is more accurate to say that it is trying to leave my system several times a day. At any rate, I haven't been feeling well enough to get on the bike or in the garden.

I'm feeling a little better today, though, so I might try to go out for a short ride just to shake the legs out. It has been my hope to hit the halfway point on the challenge in May, and it's still possible, though I have to admit that I'm feeling pretty weak right now. The end of June is the true halfway point on the calendar, so I'm still ahead of schedule, but it would be nice to have some miles in the bank before I start traveling.

I'm also going to try to put in the last few plants I brought home from the nursery a couple of weeks ago. They've been tucked away in a shady spot and I've been watering them regularly, but it's time to get them in the ground.

Then I might have to have a little lie-down and settle into some summer reading.

In other news: I am posting this from my new MacBook Air, as my old computer was irreparable. I've just about got all the software loaded, so things should be motoring along more or less normally now, blog-wise. I just need to get off my sick bed long enough to do something worth blogging about...

I am a bit worried that I'm already far enough behind schedule on things I MUST accomplish this summer that it is imprudent to think about taking a week off to go to Seattle for the Garden Bloggers Fling. Buying a new computer was also an unexpected blow to the summer budget, and is a big chunk of what I'd set aside for the Seattle trip, so financially, it isn't as prudent as it once was, either. Deep in my heart, I know that I shouldn't go, but I do so want to see my friends. I guess I'll have to make a decision soon.

That's the report!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I've been here and there

Well, it's been awhile, I know, but I've been busy. School stuff, mainly, though there's been some neighborhood association kerfuffle thrown in the mix just to spice it up. The garden languishes, but the cycling, I am happy to report, has been steady, even through the fog of end-o-semester craziness.

But now the grades are in and the graduates are graduated, so I can turn my eyes to calmer climes, namely, the garden. I have no pictures to post because, in the midst of the chaos that has been my life for the past couple of weeks, I dropped a bowl of cereal and milk onto the keyboard of my beloved Mac, and now she is no more. I am relegated instead to the slow, inconsistent, colorless, hinky machinations of a back-up PC laptop (which has a mouse/cursor that meanders randomly across the screen) whilst I repair/replace my Mac, and unfortunately for the blog, it is a pain in the neck to load photos on the PC (see above: random mousing).

So. No pics.

Anyway, today I start the long-delayed garden clean up. I have a couple of weeks before Walu and I take off for Chicago to visit his parents, and I can get boatloads done in that time. Hopefully, I'll be able to show you some before/after pics sooner, rather than later. In the meantime, it is worth pointing out to you, in the event you had not noticed, that I am closing in on the half-way mark of the Bike Garden Challenge. It could even be something that could happen this week, should I get really, really ambitious. To do that, however, would mean that I'd ride more than I ever had in a single week, however, so the prospect looks a bit daunting to me. You might wonder why I'd want to do it all this week--why not just putter along and hit the half way mark next week?

Well, this Saturday the GRUB farm is having their annual spring Friends and Family tour/lunch out at the farm, and I got to thinking that it would be fun to ride out there on my bike and turn the ticker over the halfway point then. I dunno, though. It could be too ambitious a plan, especially given the windy days we've had this spring, so I'll just have to see how it all goes. I'll keep you posted, either way.

(And I'd post links to the Bike Garden Challenge, the GRUB farm, and their annual Family and Friends lunch/tour, but it is too hard to do on this Pleistocene era PC [see above: random mousing], so you'll just have to do the search yourself.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Annette the Xtracycle goes shopping for roses

I am in the lull between the end of classes and the beginning of grading finals, so I thought it might be a good time to work on the garden. I've been wanting to try my hand at roses this year, ever since noticing some spectacular plants in some of the older neighborhoods I ride my bikes through. They look fabulous, even when everything else is succumbing to the drought and our unusually harsh winter temperatures. So I thought I'd ride on down to my local nursery and see what they were offering. When I got home from work today, however, I was feeling kind of blue and unmotivated to ride, in part because the wind is blowing gangbusters for what seems like the umpteenth day in a row. So I sat around the house for about half an hour, feeling sorry for myself and generally crabby, before I finally dragged Annette out of the shop and into the sun.

It's a funny thing about Annette. She doesn't seem to mind a blustery day. She is heavy and slow, and rides like a stately cruise ship. When I turn her into the wind, there is scarcely a ripple of acknowledgement from her that conditions might be harsh. She simply rides on--stoic, steady, serene.

By the time I got to the nursery, I was feeling a wee bit better, but still crabby. I picked out my roses, and some herbs, too, and loaded up her large saddle bags.


I took off down the street, and then oh, my goodness gracious, the wind swirled and whipped around me and I was bathed in the smell of roses.

I stopped off at Holly Hop Ice Cream Shoppe for an iced tea to go, and then tuned my iPhone to KPLU, "where the temperature is always cool," and rolled on, smelling of roses and listening to west coast jazz in that old-fashioned, tinny, summery sound that only radios in the open air can make.

It was beautiful.

Here is what she carried for me, all safe and sound, ready to be planted: