Sunday, March 1, 2015

End of the line

Finally got out my SLR again.  The last time I used it was in Paris.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


"Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education."
-Mark Twain

Marathon Broccoli - harvested February 16 and served in homemade Mac and Cheese - which I burned.

Snow Crown Cauliflower.  Harvested February 16 and served with homemade Mac and Cheese - which I burned.

Romanesco Cauliflower harvested February 22.  Served with Ranch Dressing and eaten raw.  This was a very mild cauliflower so I could actually eat it raw.

Romanesco Cauliflower - look at all those fractals! If cauliflower is a cabbage with a college education, then Romanesco has a post-doctorate.
I didnt harvest the Graffiti Cauliflower because the head is about the size of a silver dollar...of course, we've now had 48 hours of being at or below freezing.  And cauliflower is notoriously persnickety about extremes.  And I'm sure the special varieties are more likely to be persnickety. I also don't really know if Cauliflowers are "one and done" plants...Broccoli will grow side shoots you can eat after harvesting the main head, and cabbage can regrow from the stump (but I doubt we have cool enough weather for long enough for that to happen down here), but I don't know a lick about Cauliflower.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Every Garden needs a cat...or 3.

Jiffy and Blackjack having breakfast together
Jiffy has found a new friend. 

Blackjack high tails it over the fence whenever I go outside to put food out, but he's caught on to when the food is going to go out, so he sits on the fence about 20' away from our property until I've gone back inside then comes over to get food.  I'm happy that he's getting used to the schedule because it means it will be easier to trap him to get him fixed. (Jiffy is already fixed per the notch in his ear)  Also, I can't say no to Blackjack - he's the spitting image of Quazi who disappeared a year ago.  I'm taking it as some type of sign and have essentially adopted him as a secondary feral.

Jiffy is what I'd call "semi feral" - he doesn't let me near him, but he also won't run that far away from me.  I think it's funny that he gets so caught up in making sure he's RIGHT THERE when I put the food out that he's prone to running into the legs on the table.  Shawn thinks it's funny that the cat insists on keeping a 6' distance from me - as if feeding him twice a day for a year is just my means to lure him into a false sense of security so that we can catch him and eat him.  I also think I could probably get him to be less feral by feeding him wet food via spoon (it's the easiest way to domesticate kittens), but I don't have the time for it - especially when I know he's always going to be somewhat feral and would never appreciate being petted.
Jiffy telling me that I'm late with dinner.

Ivy has been putting up quite nicely with the boys.  She will stalk them and follow them until they're out of the yard, but both of them are so scared of her that they haven't even tried to stand their ground. I think it helps that they know she's not going to follow them over the fence.

The only reason why I started feeding feral cats was because we would inevitably end up with food that our owned cats would refuse to eat and I'd rather feed the wildlife instead of throwing it away.  I just figured the wildlife I would end up feeding would have been opossums and raccoons. 

Sadly, I haven't ever had to buy food specifically for the ferals because Quazi would occasionally decide that whatever wet food we had for him wasn't the right flavor. After he disappeared, we had the stash of Quazi food which took about a month to get through and then Ivy decided she didn't like the prescription dry food she was supposed to eat shortly after I opened the bag. Of course I then bought a few different small bags of food in a quest to find something she did like and we're STILL working through them.  I just finished the prescription food earlier in the week, and we're almost done with the Blue Buffalo food; then we'll move on to the Royal Canin food (another food she used to eat and has recently decided is unacceptable - again just after opening the bag).  All this while the only food Ivy will eat right now is Meow Mix. 

That's right, my feral cats eat better than my actual owned cat.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Springtime cometh.  Also, not bad for a cell phone photo...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Around the yard in early February

Romanesco Cauliflower 2/7/15.  A very bad picture, but this cauliflower is all about the fractals.  Which is just like candy for an enginerd such as myself.

The garden on 2/7/15.  The lettuces are all stating to bolt.  The aphids are attacking the mustard greens.  Guess I'd better start thinking about cleaning plants out for the spring garden...or I could just wait until I have my tomatoes ready to go in.

My first cauliflower (at least, I think this is my first...maybe it's the second) on 2/1/15.  In any case, cauliflower normally never grows for me so I'm happy about this one.

White cemetery iris has started to bloom on 2/1/15.  No indication of blooming from any of the other irises I have around the yard, but then the cemeteries always seem to bloom first anyway.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Roses - who knew?

Oh my god, guys - remember how I said last year that I had determined both of my roses which I got from my friend Andrea were Double Delight Andelis?

Yeah.  Not so much.  One is a Double Delight Andeli, the other is a Sweet Freedom JACshume.  I figured this out when I was finally planting the roses in the rose bed and as part of my pulling them out of the flower pots and pruning them, I found the other metal tag - also wired around one of the larger main stems.

So, now there are 3 roses in the rose bed, the Dr. Huey, the Double Delight and the Sweet Freedom.  I think they should all look good together.  I plan to also plant some mexican mint marigold in the area as well - this area already has a bunch of zexmenia (assuming it comes back from this winter), and some blackfoot daisy.  I also may end up putting the firebush in this area.

Dr. Huey: Hybrid Wichurana.  Crimson colored.  Mild fragrance.  Average diameter 2". Height 10'-12'. Climbing form. Susceptible to Mildew.  Very vigorous.  Prune after blooming.  Blooms once in spring/summer.

Double Delight (ANDeli): Hybrid Tea. Bicolor; white with red edges. Strong spice fragrance.  Average diameter 5".  Height of 3-5'.  Upright form.  Susceptible to Mildew.  Prune spent blooms.  Blooms in flushes throughout spring and summer.

Sweet Freedom (JACshume): Hybrid Tea. Cream colored. Stong Honeysuckle scent.  Average diameter 4".  Height of 5'.  Upright form.  Exceptionally resistant to Rust and Mildew. Prune spent blooms.  Blooms in flushes throughout spring and summer.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My succulent problem

My name is Katina and I have a succulent/cacti problem.

I purchase succulents and cacti (and collect them from other gardeners) and I never plant them anywhere. I'm so terrible.

They eventually end up in various pots. Unfortunately, I can never remember which ones are hardy and which ones aren't, though I'd guess that about 90% of them are hardy. To be safe when it gets cold outside, I just bring them ALL inside. Eventually, when I don't remember how much I paid for the ones I actually did buy, I'll probably just leave them all outside and if I lose some, I lose some.  But, like I said, that won't happen until I don't remember how much money I spent.

This year I purchased a shelving unit to try to organize stuff a little better.  Obviously I should have bought a bigger unit.

This year, it's gotten so bad that I've even expanded into the extra bedroom.  The plants in the bedroom are the ones that are tropical and therefore won't even go back outside until after the last frost date in March.  The plants in here are a regular plumeria, an unscented plumeria, my ginger plant (which is dormant and forming corms), and my pineapple from a store-bought one.  I should probably really think about downsizing the plumerias or at least figure out how much I can prune them back.

So, this is my problem.  I'm a little surprised the husband hasn't said anything about it yet.  He'll probably wait until everything is potted and out in the yard and then he'll complain about how he has to do "the ministry of silly walks" to get around all of them.