Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 21, 2009) (Flowers, Fruit and a Miniature Spider Web)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

HAPPY SPRING!

Things have really progressed this week in the garden!  First of all, the temperatures have been getting into the low 80’s and the overnight temps have stayed in the 40’s the past few nights.  I’ve started planting some of the veggies, but am holding back on the tomatoes a bit longer as it’s supposed to be windy on Sunday into Monday.  The last few nights I’ve kept the plants out overnight, but covered.

A lot of annuals overwinter well here.  The petunias, for example.  A couple of years ago I had some petunias that lasted 2 years!  Tthe purple and fuschia petunias from last year started blooming this week.  The purple flowers are particularly striking, but seem more fragile…here’s the first one of the year:

Returning Petunia...

Returning Petunia...

Snapdragons do well in the ground and pots, too…and they take only a short break depending on how mild the winter is….

Yellow Snapdragns in the Garden...

Yellow Snapdragons in the Garden...

An Interesting Snapdragon in a pot...

An Interesting Yellow/Red Snapdragon Combo...

The New Mexico Privet in the backyard is starting to bud out!  Meanwhile, out front, the NM privet that I’ve been training as a tree hasn’t even started. That’s what micro climates are all about here.

Backyard NM Privet

Backyard NM Privet

In the fruit department, the grapes and figs are really on the move! And the peaches on the tree in the warm corner have doubled in size. Meanwhile, in the more sheltered area, that peach tree is just barely getting bud swell.

Baby Figs!

Baby Figs!

Baby Peaches!

Baby Peaches!

By the time the April winds die down, half will be gone…

Here’s one of the artichokes…I bought two, but each pot was a double and I managed to tease out 4!  I’m going to see how they do and if they can grow as perennials here…

Artichoke

Artichoke

Finally, here’s very lucky shot I got of a very small spider web on  the slow-developing peach tree at the side of the house.  It’s a miracle I got this shot!!

Tiny Spider Web

Tiny Spider Web

In the raised beds, over the last couple of days I’ve planted a couple of eggplant and peppers in the garden, and took the stray potato that started growing in the composter and planted that, too.  I soaked the chard and okra seeds overnight and planted them yesterday as well.

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.

AP Analyzes Obama:He’s FED UP With Protests About the Stimulus Plan…Too F*cking Bad!!

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

With my mother still in the hospital as they try to figure out her heart meds, I didn’t have the time to stay glued to the TEE VEE and watch Obama recite his talk about the stimulus package.  To be honest, when I saw him speaking LIVE, I quickly changed the channel and kept on cooking artichokes…I have quickly adopted my defense which I used against the aura of  GW Bush, which was to ignore the talking head as much as possible and rely on printed words.  Annoying as THEY were, they still didn’t raise my blood pressure as much as actually hearing Bush uttering his crap.

And it is the same with the new petulant fraud in the White House.  I am on “gray hair” watch, however.  I am watching to see the Obama’s hair color change, not out of acquired wisdom, but with the stress of not getting his way ALL the time as the long 4 years unwinds.

So I had to laugh when I saw this AP story on O’s address on the stimulus package.  The headline that caught my eye contained the words “fed up” but was the one that linke to the actual story…The AP decided to call this ANALYSIS rather than dropping the editorializing into the story without warning…and it’s quite a delicious opening:

General News – Analysis: Obama says GOP can’t criticize stimulus.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama looked comfortable enough at his first White House news conference, but he sounded like a man fed up with one thing: Republicans lecturing him about his $820 billion economic stimulus plan.

Message to Obama:  The Republicans aren’t the only ones fed up.  ME, I’m fed up, too!  Being “lectured to” pisses you off?  Well, I’m pretty sick of being “lecture to” by YOU!!

Oh, and what happened to the charisma?  “Looked comfortable enough” is faint praise indeed…

My underlying nightmare is that in one month, this jerk in the Oval Office and the Democrats in the Congress under the “leadership” of Pelosi and Reid have set up the Democrats to be CRUSHED eventually at the polls.  Anything good that the Democrats might accomplish will be blown away because of the crap that has been coming down ever since they’ve taken control.

It’s the ARROGANCE and STUPIDITY, baby!

But why should I care? I’m no longer a Democrat…but I AM a citizen who wants to be free of the GOP that seems to never wise up and move off the subject of women’s bodies and destroying the social safety net  (which Obama and the Democrats are helping along…more coming on this).

Fed up?  I’m SO FED UP with both Republicans and Democrats, religion being shoved down my throat, etc., etc. that I can’t even begin to express it!!

PS…the artichokes turned out great!!