Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 18, 2009) Glorious Organ Mountains; Apricots; Quail on the Wall; Sneaky Slick the Min Pin

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It’s been a frustrating week in the garden as the winds have continued and the temperatures have dipped the last day or so.  I’ve managed to put a couple of veggies and flowers into the patio pots, only to cover them up again to protect them from the weather.

Yesterday I bought a new Belle of Georgia peach to replace the one that is languishing.  I’ll get that in the ground over the weekend.

A big surprise is that I found a little apricot growing.  One seems to be finally showing on the flower I saw…but this one never seemed to have a flower that I ever saw, so imagine my surprise to see a an actual baby apricot!!  Let’s see if anything more shows up!

Last Tuesday I took advantage of the short trip over to my chess teacher’s house and took some wonderful pictures of the Organ Mountains. These views are literally a couple of minutes from my house…I’ll share one with you now:

Organ Mountains 4/16/09 Looking Like a Painting...

Organ Mountains 4/14/09 Looking Like a Painting...

New Mexico has wonderful light, which attracts a lot of artists.  The changes in the skies and the light that changes from second to second are things which never cease to amaze me.

Closer to home, the quail are beginning to show up on my wall.  I love these guys and their plaintive calls.

A Curious Quail...

A Curious Quail...

Finally, Slick the Sneak was into all sorts of trouble yesterday.  We left the house for an appointment and when we got back we found garbage all over the floor!  This hasn’t happened in quite awhile.  It really was close to the boys’ dinnertime, so I guess Slick was the leader of the pack in search of some grub.

This picture, which I took a couple of days ago, shows the little flash of the devil in his eyes:

Sneaky Slick

Sneaky Slick

Let’s hope the winds die down next week! I have to put up the new grape trellises, plant a chocolate flower and really have to decide if I should bag the peaches. So far the squirrels haven’t shown up, which is amazing. I see the papa or mama when I look over the wall and they gobble up the lettuce and other veg scraps I toss over right away.  I suppose they’re busy with babies and as they grow, I’m sure they’ll be hunting for a lot more food…including peaches!

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (February 28, 2009) (The Garden Waking Up!) (Pic Heavy)

~~By InsightAnalytical–GRL

The movies I watched over the last couple of days just seemed to hit too close to home.  On Thursday night, Retroplex aired “1984, ” which was filmed around the actual locations and time of year that was described in George Orwell’s novel.  Richard Burton, who died in 1984, was chilling in the finals sequences as he tortured the man who “thought” and was caught.  It was terrifying in light of what’s been going on lately.  Then last night, TCM showed “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” followed by “All the King’s Men.”  Later, it was “The Manchurian Candidate.”   What a way to spend a Friday night!

Host Robert Osborne had a tidbit following “Mr. Smith” that I hadn’t heard before.  Apparently, it was this movie that inspired Ronald Reagan to began thinking about his interest in politics.  And we know how THAT turned out…As I recall, he had one of the most corrupt administrations in recent memory, with something like 100 officials, including Attorney General Edwin Meese, either hauled into court or somehow involved in legal proceedings/investigations.  Apparently, the inspiration of Jefferson Smith didn’t stick…

Anyway, I got out to the garden for a brief time today. The garden is my place of sanity and it’s waking up!  Here are some pics from yesterday (2/27) with some details of what’s going on.  I may do some more “Saturday Sanity” posts as the gardening year unfolds!

The plants are beginning to arrive and Thursday at Lowe’s I chatted with a guy who was looking over the tomatoes and he and I agree  that we are champing at the bit to start digging!  I bought some metal poles that I will use to support the two new grape vines that I will begin to train this year.  You have to plant a bit early here because by May it’s hot, so plants have to get a good start. That means protecting them from the winds and the sharp temperature drops from warm days to cold nights that sometimes occur. It’s that sort of thing that made my apricot tree lose all it’s blossoms last year (it’s second spring) which meant I had no apricots at all.  I have a peach tree in a warm corner which is already blooming and being pollinated, but it’s way too early, as usual.  By contrast, another peach on the sheltered side of the house is just beginning to have its buds swelling.  Talk about “micro climates’…

Here is the peach in bloom with the grapes I need to prune this weekend in the foreground:

Peach Tree & "Flame" Grape

Peach Tree & "Flame" Grape

The fig, which I finally got into the ground after several years in a large planter,  is starting to show a bit of green:

Fig Greening Up!

Fig Greening Up!

My pomegranate is budding out and so is the apricot.  I hope the birdhouse attracts a resident!

Apricot and Bird House

Apricot and Bird House

I have a mysterious visitor to the garden lately.  I think it’s some sort of thrasher, but the beak is VERY long and curved and sometimes crosses over. The “regular” thrashers have long, strong beaks, but nothing like this. My desert book doesn’t show this guy, so I’ll have to do more research.  This is a very bold bird and I can get fairly close to it!

Mystery Bird

Mystery Bird

Here’s the last of the mustard and what’s left of the winter lettuce that I’ll pick soon:

First Raised Bed

First Raised Bed

This is my second raised bed with the arugula going to seed. That’s a few clumps of swiss chard that overwintered just beyond my shadow:

The Other Raised Bed

The Other Raised Bed

I bought a couple of tomato plants and artichokes at Lowes.  I was so surprised to see the artichokes that I grabbed them. I didn’t have much luck with them in New Jersey, so we’ll have to see how they do here. It’s all about keeping them shaded, from what I’ve read.  As for the tomatoes–I plant them in the beds as well as in containers on the patio. I do the same with eggplant and things like basil and peppers. It’s my “insurance garden” just in case something happens and the veggies fry in the main beds.

Tomatoes & Artichokes

Tomatoes & Artichokes

Out in the border the purple stock is flowering, the sedum “Autumn Joy” in pots is on its way, and the Texas Ranger sage is looking good. I grew the sedum in the ground in Jersey and it got HUGE, but here in my yard I moved it to pots and it’s doing better than in the ground. That’s my composter to the left of the white fence:

Purple Stock & Sedum

Purple Stock & Sedum

There are some amazing things going outside the garden.  Near the street by my neighbor’s driveway, there’s a tire tread where he’s backed out onto the ground…and guess what has popped up there?  A little parade of flowers, with one already blooming:

Wildflowers in the Tire Tread

Wildflowers in the Tire Tread

There are buds on my little cacti, too.  March is also the month when you can take a pad from a cactus, let it dry a bit so a callous forms on the exposed end, and then stick it into the ground for a new cactus plant!

Hope you enjoyed the little tour! I have lots of work to do, so I better get to bed and get some rest!  Tomorrow I need to prune the grapes and fertilize the grass (all two feet of it!), the fruit trees and the border plants.