I know, I know, but life goes on regardless. From ever-dependable garden commentor Marvel:
Last night, late, I let Sally (our beloved rescue dog) out for her final bit of business. And as usual, I turned on the porch light and the floodlights that illuminate that portion of the yard. Sally jets outside and immediately starts a furious storm of barking. She’s visible to me through the breezeway and all I can see is her angry immobilized self, hackles raised, yelling to beat the band at something. So fierce!
I was afraid she’d happened upon a raccoon (Hell, it was late and she was so furious, I was imagining a BEAR!). She ignored my first 20 “COME!” commands until finally the madness released her.
Once she came back in, I realized that what she was barking at was the highly-illuminated cotton-batting cloche I had earlier fashioned for the tree peony in the herb garden (the tender thing has grown buds & the forecast is bone-freezing in the coming week).
We too have, on occasion, smuggled new accessories into the side yard just to see how much they’d upset our three little rescue dogs. If an addition is particularly effective, Sydney the Neurotic has been known to wet himself (while screaming staccato and racing in tight circles)…
… whoops, we may be getting into political territory again…
Here north of Boston, there hasn’t been any snow cover to speak of, but there haven’t been many deep-below-freezing snaps yet either. That’s predicted to change by next weekend; I’m wondering if it’s worth trying to bring some of the big pots that got missed last fall into the garage, or if it’s already too late to save those plants.
Also still considering not ordering any tomato plants this year. Last year was a total #FAIL, but I’m wondering how much I’ll find myself at loose ends come May if I don’t have any of our preferred heirlooms to look forward to nurturing. WWAPGD (What Would A Proper Gardener Do)?
Apart from the Trumpstunt fallout, what’s on the agenda for the day?
Good morning (said after three hours of being wide awake, and hopes of being able to get back to sleep soon).
I always love reading the garden threads and looking at the pictures, although I am in no way a gardener myself. But I’m thinking of maybe trying some indoor plants that thrive on benign neglect. Should I be considering succulents? I have a particular fondness for lithops (aka “living stones”) but don’t know how easy or challenging they are.
BJ expertise, I’m sure, will provide ideas and advice. I’ll catch up on comments after I catch up on lost sleep.
P.S. Marvel, that’s a hilarious story about Sally!
@SiubhanDuinne: Lithops need a sunny window and very, very little water. Don’t water until they begin to look shriveled. Unless you live in a latitude of minimal winter solstice, they’ll probably go dormant between November and February; don’t water at all during dormancy. Pot in cactus soil.
I’d bark at that thing too.
Someone wrote in saying his dog and torn the pad on its foot and many readers advised him to get the dog to the vet pronto. How’s the dog doing?
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
Fantasy and children’s author Ursula Vernon:
(She’s wonderful, BTW. Long-running webcomic Digger, Castle Hangnail, and numerous short novels under the name T. Kingfisher.)
I parked my Mustang in the driveway because my brother’s SUV is in my garage while he and his wife are on a short trip and his car is loaded up with many of their worldly possessions. Yesterday afternoon my neighbor knocked on the door to tell me that one of the peacocks that have occupied the block was seeing his reflection in the side of my car and attacking it. So we draped some tarps over it to fend off the horny birds. With my luck now the neighborhood dogs will start to bark at it.
@Mustang Bobby: My aunt lives in a town so rural you can keep fowl within the city limits. We went to visit during what turned out to be peacock mating season. Those foul fowl whooped all night.
It’s been a mild winter in Philadelphia as well this year. The arugula patch planted in late summer is still going great guns. By now it’s died to the ground. Some roots winter over to give me plant in spring that flower to provide the seeds for the fall planting. I still expect it to die to the ground at some point. It has known not to do so.
Lil Bit vs the bag.
@Pogonip: Think that was LAO and her beagle, Maggie. Pup’s on the mend and healing up nicely, last we heard.
LAO: we need a Maggie update.
And you saw that Walter is still eating and smiling.
Our 8 year old dog suddenly developed uveitis a week ago today. Since taking her to vet the following day, tests for possible causes such as tick related causes, anaplasmosis, lyme and blastomycosis were negative. We learned that there are multiple causes of uveitis and many or most can’t be identified. She is on 3 different eye drops, two for one eye treating glaucoma and we have brought her in for eye pressure checks. We don’t know for sure if she will retain vision in the one eye yet.
I just want to say if your dog’s eyes don’t look normal and it can happen overnight, take your dog to vet immediately.
Good morning everyone! Nice to get back to a garden thread. I covered the plants I worried about this year because they were transplanted in the fall so weren’t fully established. It’s been a very mild year here too, so for our two balmy days I pulled some pots I was overwintering in the garage out to get some sun, one is a particularly stubborn petunia that refuses to die though it’s dormant. We’ll see if it lasts all the way to spring.
@SiubhanDuinne: SiubhanDuinne, I always was a fitful sleeper, though it improved when I started using a sleep mask. But I bought one of these and the improvement in my sleep is amazing. For the first time in about 35 years I sleep through the night a consistent 7 hours. I got a black one for almost total darkness, and now it’s my little refuge. I also seldom need a nap during the day, and that’s helped me sleep better at night too. Just thought I’d mention it.
@bemused: hoping she’s better soon!
Try try again, try try again.
@bemused: I feel you, Lil Bit has been on twice daily eye meds and bimonthly pressure checks for over 8 years. She is up to 7 meds now.
Heading home after a nice visit to Charleston. Amazed at how uncrowded downtown was. A bit bummed that they’ve transformed the old downtown market from crap and junk and weirdos to the same stuff you can get in any gift shop. Price of progress, I guess.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Phylllis: Depends on the day. If you’re there for a few days, visit the market each day. Some split booths with other vendors.
@Phylllis: No baskets?
Good Morning, Everyone ???
We lost a wonderful 9 year old dog to Blastomycosis at least 15 years ago when Blasto was really new to vets and pet owners. If he had lived he would have been blind in one eye. Treatments are much better for Blasto if caught early and more dogs are surviving but it was a relief test was negative.
We weren’t really surprised that the tick disease and blasto tests were negative because she was acting completely her normal self except for her eyes, squinting and showing third eye. So far the other eye not showing glaucoma so the goal is to keep that from happening. As vet said, dog will do fine if blind in one eye. Also told she may be on eyedrops in affected eye for rest of her life.
Aha. Guess we will have to be prepared for it to come to that.
@bemused: Our Buster had issues because of his eyelashes growing back into his eyelids. After minor surgery and daily eye drops, his eyes haven’t given him any trouble. Who knew there were canine opthmalogists?
The Sally story is classic. But the one thing I don’t worry about at this time of the year is a nocturnal bear. In the Poconos, I think they’re all still snoozing. Still no going out after dark. Too many other mischief makers up here and that doesn’t sit well with Lord Buster and his philosophy of territorial possession.
btw, how old was she when the problem developed and is it both eyes?
Reposting from the earlier thread.
@Phylllis: If the lowest common denominator is the price of progress, count me out.
@Raven: There were basket vendors. Too cold for the ladies to set up outside. If I have a regret, it’s that I didn’t buy one or a million when I was here i college a million years ago when they were dirt cheap.
Our dog, Samoyed, has some kind of allergy that turned up a few years ago. Her eyes water and stains her hair from corner of her eyes down her checks mainly in the summer, warmer months. I had just been commenting that her allergy is much better in winter, very little hair staining, With our winter snow cover and temperatures, whatever is causing the allergy is buried, frozen. We are in the country so our two dogs romp around nature all the time and even dig for critters around tree stumps.
Annie Laurie, I’ve been debating about tomatoes this year too: I love the colorful flavorful open pollinated heritage types, but for the last two years I have lost all my plants (except for a volunteer cherry tomato) to wilts. So far my plan is to 1) plant in soil where no tomatoes have gone before, 2) start the seeds myself and 3) plant heritage cross hybrids for a couple of years, so the plants have some disease resistance and hopefully still have some flavor. If THAT doesn’t work, then I’m done with tomato growing at home and will scout out a good CSA farmer.
@bystander: I don’t worry about night time marauders and the Woofmeister, ursusian or otherwise. The best bear dog I’ve ever seen was a 10 lb. beagle up in Canada. She could and would tree anything. Once treed a sow with 2 cubs, had to lock her up so the sow could leave the island.
Was sitting on my porch with Woof a couple weeks ago when a pack of coyotes let loose down in the hollow behind my place. Woof got up and let loose with a few of his low deep “This is MY place!” barks and they shut right up. Woof is a 100# Lab and a pack of coyotes could take him down… but not without terrible damage and death, and they know it. They are smart enough to just not go there.
If Buster is a larger dog, you needn’t worry too much.
Not sure why this moved me when there have been so many moving scenes the last 24 hours but the group of scientists who are getting the word out that they will take care of the houses and pets for other scientists and academics was really touching.
@Elizabelle: Oh, good! Glad to hear it.
I think Cole should give Debit the keys so she can post a “Weekly Walter” update.
@OzarkHillbilly: Is Woof called Woof because of the coyote-scaring woofs?
I’ve lived in rural West Deplorable a year and a half and still haven’t seen or heard a live coyote. How loud is Woof’s woof, anyway?
@bemused: We adopted her 8 1/2 years ago after she was dumped on out vets doorstep. She had really bad eyes and, for a still unknown reason, removed her tear ducts. She’s always been on cyclosporine but, a few years after we got her, she developed cataracts and we had the surgery done on them.
I’m very careful about letting dogs out at night, especially around this time of year. It’s skunk mating season. No dogs have gotten skunked on my watch, but I’ve heard and smelled the stories. There’s one stretch of roadway that I call Skunk Alley, because although I wouldn’t call it Skunk Carnage, the occasional horny skunk does get hit by a car, and I know “poor skunk” is the appropriate response, but boy does that scent broadcast.
Can the tomato soil be amended? Tomato-less gardens make me sad, or at least wistful.
Good morning [email protected]Pogonip: Yep, LAO will update I’m sure, but the dog got to the clinic without being carried or taxied, but by hopping sturdily on three feet.
@Larkspur: the trouble is that tomatoes should be rotated with other crops so the soil has a chance to rejuvenate and the fungus spores that cause a lot of tomato diseases are dissipated by turning over the soil. Yes, the soil can be ammended and there are organic antifungals, but in cooler, wetter springs and summers to fugual and wilt diseases thrive.
@satby:Darn. A lot of people I know plant tomatoes. Some of them do container pot tomatoes. The only perfume I’d ever buy would be the early scent of tomato plants and flowers. (Although your green tea body cream is wonderfully aromatic.)
@satby: Another thing about tomato wilts is that your neighbors poor cultural practices can infect your plants and soil. Your diligent efforts to minimize infection and dissipate and control the spores in your soil can be trumped by unknowing and inattentive neighbors upwind.
A Proper Gardener would try, try, try again. Me, I’m ordering a couple of rose bushes even though the Japanese beetle infestation that started a dozen years ago pretty much wipes out any chance of flowers after the initial June flush. I’m getting Chianti specifically for that (a once-blooming David Austin).
Years ago, when we had our dog Kish, a shepherd-retriever mix (best guess), my husband set up an exercise bike in the living room of our apartment. I awoke one night to furious barking and came out to find that the reason for the barking was husband pedaling away while wearing big headphones. Apparently the noise from the bike and the weird appearance of husband with headphones had convinced Kish that he was a space alien or some other terrifying creature. Husband removed the headphones and tried to assure the dog that the creature on the bike was still her beloved person, but as soon as he put the headphones back on, she started in again. The exercise bike went away shortly thereafter.
Kalanchoe and sedums are also nice succulents to grow. I have a jade plant that has grown so big and old that it had blooms all over one side this year. That was a real treat.
I am hoping that the new strawberry bed we worked so hard on last year returns this year. I mean, I know the actual raised bed and cover are still there, just hoping for some strawberries!
@SiubhanDuinne: succulents tend to need a lot of sun, more than many windows provide. A good benign neglect plant is a Clivia, water them only every 2 weeks over the winter and you’ll get stunning blooms. For a blooming plant, they don’t need or want strong sun levels. Kind of pricey at the nursery because they grow slowly but a very nice houseplant.
The mosque is in Victoria, Texas. Things haven’t gotten that bad in Virginia (yet).
Been waiting for a garden thread to ask a question!
How do your heirloom/heritage harvests compare to modern hybrids?
JeanneT’s – apparently not well but I’ve been wondering how much difference there is and ultimately, in a round about way how this has contributed to the shrinking population of family farms.
Here in Nebraska, we’re right around the anniversary of the Blizzard of ’49. Snowed in for weeks, people – town and country – managed because they had their own home-canned canned goods. This while the families tended to be larger than they are now. So the harvests couldn’t have been too bad.
My favorite indoor plants are spider plants. Very hardy, don’t mind crowded pots, do well in full or part sun, will send off shoots of their own offspring which are easy to root out and plant, and are said to be good air filters.
Apart from the cherry tomatoes, the heirlooms just don’t tend to be as productive as the hybrids. That’s not a problem for me (or a lot of other backyard gardeners) because getting just one or a couple of ripe maters at a time from each plant is as much as we can eat up. (We do usually get a few ten-pound ‘flushes’ in August or September, and I make a batch of slow-roasted tomatoes for winter savoring.)
If I were depending on my plants as a cash crop, or trying to grow enough to be ‘independent’ all year, I’d have to switch to hybrids. But as it is (and I do appreciate my luck, every summer!) I tend to gorge on delicious home-grown heritage maters from July through October, and make do with canned tomatoes the rest of the year.
Our community garden is having our returning gardener meeting next month. We are all starting to believe in spring again as we think about planting and growing. It felt good to believe, even for a little while, that there was a small part of reality that can’t be ruined by some 3AM twit. I don’t think it is normalizing to carve out safe zones and sanctuaries. We will all need them so we can recover from time to time.