Tag Archives: gardening

The Future Is The Past, Harvest, And Early Christmas

A varied day today. The kids seem more themselves, though not quite up to full wellness. Youngest is closest to being entirely well.

The second-hand TV has been acting up. We’re still trying to see if we can figure out a cause. Today we tested out a theory as to whether it was related to volume: it’s cut out a few times in the end credits of a particular show, which are kinda boomy, and it got upset partway through Age Of Ultron during a big booming fight, it wasn’t happy a few weeks ago during “Let It Go”, when watching Frozen. When it ran for most of the day up here, we had the volume down. Long story short, plugged the Audio Out from the TV into the stereo, turned the volume off on the TV, and it still cut out after about half-an-hour of Frozen (one day, we’ll finish watching the Blu-Ray).

The weather is turning cold, so today there was a mass picking of the tomatoes and squash that were still growing in the back yard. some of the squashes were longer than the kids’ arms, and might even have been wider than my own. And there turned out to be a pretty large haul of tomatoes. While they were being picked, there was the occasional whoosh of pest-attacked tomatoes being thrown across to the other side of the yard.

A few nights ago (the 21st, in fact), was Back To The Future Day. Jimmy Kimmel had the characters of Doc Brown and Marty McFly show up on his show, with cameos by Huey Lewis, and Biff Henderson, long-time stage manager on the Letterman show, which ended recently. A reference is made to the recent news that Future Biff on Back To The Future 2 was based on Donald Trump.


Looking up Thomas F Wilson, who played Biff, Griff and “Mad Dog” Tannen in the BTTF movies, his main focus now is being a painter, though he does still do acting work. His Wikipedia page says he was invited to play acoustic guitar by Relient K, when they appeared on Jay Leno. My wife said she’d be interested to see that, so I looked it up. The video I found was someone filming their TV, not very steadily, and the picture on the TV is often in closeup on the left side of the stage, but a couple of minutes in, there he is, way over on the right.

Merry Christmas!

Garden Update

As we descend into the end part of the growing season, it seems a good time to make notes on how things have gone this year.

I picked up a pack of strawberry popcorn at a choiry event, and planted some. It has tried to be enthusiastic, but I’m not sure it has had time to grow the actual corn part before the weather gets too cold. Don’t remember when I planted it, but if we grow corn, growing it earlier would seem to be a good policy. Maybe try starting it indoors even earlier, then it might have a chance to get big enough to grow some beans up them, with the squash around them, like the Three Sisters is supposed to be.

The squash around the corn… I know some squashes grew, but I’m not sure if it was as many as we ought to expect. Harvesting hasn’t really been my thing this year.

I heard today of someone’s corn being plagued by earwigs. I know I’ve seen some earwigs this year, don’t know if they’ve touched the corn or not. Should look into what companion plants might repel earwigs, and plant it around the corn.

Tried adding peas in extra places, to help some plants. Seems to have been a good move. The stuff by the house dried up a bit, but the back fence seems to be a good place.

Mint is doing very well around the fruit trees. Might need to make a note of what we’ve got where, and move the mint we like eating least, to around the trees at the front, and extend the others to various places at the back. Fill in the holes, as it were.

Tomatoes seem to have done very well this year. The seed ones better than the already-started ones. Whatever we did this year, we should do again next year.

One of the three Arctic Kiwi plants has survived – we need to weed around it now. And try to find a bunch of females to plant around the male we have, for next year.

The new raised beds have done very well, probably want to add some more soil to them next year, and the second year should be more productive than the first. The one that ended up being more my thing turned insanely productive: the marshmallow grew above the washing line, a couple of the squashes turned giant, and a load of beans grew. Spotted a couple of echinacea flowers.

Some of the new trees we’ve planted have done better than others. Some died, some seemed to die then tried growing new trunks from lower down. Looking forward to the apple and pear trees that we planted last year, to grow to the point of producing fruit. Hope the new peach trees get enough life in them to grow a bunch of branches, and start producing. Hope the old peach tree hangs on long enough for some overlap.

After a worrying start, the grape plants have taken off. Hope they fill in a bunch of fence, and of course we’re looking forward to them producing, too.

The blackberry plant that we planted where the compost pile used to be, has taken off. We planted it a bit away from the fence, but it grew right to the fence. It has wanted to just continue its limbs through the fence along the ground, we’ve tried to encourage it to row up the fence. Hopefully we’ll get more of an edge in that battle next year. I haven’t spotted any fruit on it yet, not sure if that’s not a first-year thing, or what.

Three of the four raspberry plants that we transplanted from the mountain, have survived. Hopefully they’ll send up new stems next year, as they’re supposed to. Only got a few raspberries off them this year, possibly because of when we transplanted them.

The raised beds we but soil from our garden in, got rather weedy. The ones we just put soil-from-bags in, have done better in that regard.

We put a bed in the front, and planted a whole load of seeds, I don’t think we got much in the way of grown-on-purpose stuff in there at all. There’s one plant I’m pretty sure is comfrey, but that’s about it.

The mushrooms haven’t produced as much volume-wise as I hoped, and I’m just starting to get some mushrooms from a second tub (out of the seven that are out there). Still, to have gotten anything is pretty promising, hopefully can start figuring out some tricks to increase output there.

In summary, I think we’ve had a lot of production this year, which is encouraging, and we have lots of potential for more production in the future, with the perennials and other recurring plants.

We’ve had a lot of drinks with mint or lemon balm from the garden. More herbs will be a good way to go, lots of peas round things was a great move. Something viny and fast-growing up the side of the house, after mulching down there, will be a great step (especially towards keeping the house cool in summer – it hasn’t seemed too hot this year, thankfully). Hops have been suggested, and that’s not a bad idea.

A lot of work done, a lot more to do, but it all seems promising.

Tree Assault

Today we had a visit from the designer of the sidewalk that’s going to be put in through our front yard. We found out they were putting the sidewalk there, as opposed to by the road (which would be in line with the sidewalk where it starts/ends a couple of blocks down) about a week after we planted trees and shrubs, some of which we will now have to move. Only one is actually in the path of the sidewalk, two are on the road side of where the sidewalk will be. Our happy maple, on the house side of the sidewalk, may also need to move, as it’s in the two feet buffer zone that the contractors might want to work in. I wonder if we will be able to talk them into working around it.

That was just the stuff we’ve just planted. We’ve got some well-established bushes that they’ll want to hack down – they’ve already cut down some (admittedly sad) trees next door, and some in the next block.

It troubles me that they send the designer as diplomat on the last day of the public consultation into the project. Like, if you have objections after getting the information and explanations, you’re just about out of time to voice them.

We didn’t think of any objections when the designer was here. I recall him mentioning something about the sidewalk being slightly below the level of the ground as it currently is, as it goes past our property. Didn’t think about it at the time, but it seems to me that the sidewalk would then collect a bit of the rainwater runoff from the grass  – which in our Rather Cold Winters could turn somewhat problematic for Those Poor Schoolkids that this path is for.

On a more positive note, today the Summer Reading Program at the library started. For those not familiar with it, the gist is that you sign up, record how much you read, and then for every so many hours of reading you do, you get a prize and a raffle ticket.

On these raffle tickets, you write your name and details, then you put it in a tub corresponding to a prize that you hope to win. In previous years, these prizes were divided into age groups. The first year that I was around for. there was a Lego kit in with the grown-up prizes. Since then, some years have been better than others for grown-up prizes, but for stuff I’m interested in, the trend is a general decline. Last year there were a couple of book series that looked kinda interesting, some years there have been cinema tickets. I guess the decline hasn’t meant a whole bunch as I haven’t won anything.

Invariably, though, some grown-up tickets land in the tubs for kid prizes, and vice-versa. Such tickets, if selected, have been thrown away (there was an embarrassing moment last year, when one tub contained ONLY the wrong-colour tickets). If I hadn’t known that, there are times when I’d have been much more tempted to put my tickets in for kid-prizes (not entirely selfishly, I have three kids).

This year they are experimenting with a free-for-all approach to those prizes. Interestingly, unless they’re just not displayed yet, there’s very few that seem to be aimed at grown-ups. We’ll see how this shakes out.

The design of the reading progress cards has also been in decline over the years. The kids’ cards have had something to tick off half-hour chunks until each eight-hour goal. Two years ago the pattern was very convoluted and hard to follow. Last year the design just looked like there were half-hour things to tick off, until partway through you realise that it just ain’t right. This year there’s nothing at all for that, so now we’ve got some scrap paper on the wall, with boxes to tick off for each half-hour.

It’s not just reading in your head that counts: reading to someone else counts for you AND them, so keeping track of how much counts for each person (especially with two kids in the program) gets kind of tricky. More so if you’re not counting in small increments like that.

First day: Oldest has read two-and-a-half hours towards his first 8-hour prize. Middle has been read to for two half-hours. I’ve only managed half an hour (reading to both kids). Once I hit the audiobooks (they somehow count, which is great for me), I’ll start doing really well.

As for butchered trees, I start the Reading Program partway into:

  • The Ionian Mission by Patrick O’Brian
  • The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel
  • The Adventures Of The Wishing-Chair by Enid Blyton

Those are the ones I’m actively reading. Nineveh And Its Remains, by Austen Henry Layard, is also nearby, waiting for me to resume it.

And so much more that I’m looking forward to getting into and through. Busy summer.