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[dee :: main]

03.march.2008 :: monday :: happy gardening to you!

Evan recently discovered and introduced me to yet another gem of public television: South Carolina e-TV's Making It Grow. We seem to get it on our bunny ears because we're so close to our sister state to the south here in charlotte. At first we thought it was a spoof, but soon were enchanted by host Rowland Alston's cheerful "happy gardening to YOU" as he answers vievwers' questions on everything from growing seedless grapes to controlling aggressive squirrels. As I said, it really is a gem. If you need something to cheer you up, check it out. It is at once hilarious and endearing, and you'll soon be wanting more.

Speaking of making it (whatever that happens to be) grow, I spent about five happy hours in our future hummingbird & bee garden yesterday. Last fall I took an impatient chance and planted seeds of four different kinds of flowers. It wasn't long before I could see the little cotyledons. Many of those seemed to disappear, but after a few weeks it seemed there was a respectable fuzz of miniature green leaves in their place. So I tried to replant most of them in sawed-off to-go cups (think the red plastic kind you get by the keg at a frat party) and took care to cover the garden throughout November and December. One hardy sample seemed to be growing faster than the others, and for quite a while I thought it must be a weed. But I tried to foster it just in case, and now am rewarded with what I'm pretty sure is a healthy young cornflower plant. It caught the epicurean attention of some critter a couple weeks ago, after which I covered its stumpy remains with a sawed-off milk jug. Now it's going gangbusters in there. Okay--back to yesterday--I again tackled the seeded area with a barrage of to-go cups, digging up pretty much the whole area so I could more easily separate the apparent weeds from what I *hope* are the plants I intended to plant. It's likely that I replanted a whole bunch of weeds. But hopefully there will be enough real plants in the mix that once they all grow (now with room to do so) we'll have a respectable offering for our winged friends this summer. Keep your green thumbs crossed for me! Sigh...there's so much going on in our yard now that Spring is springing...I could go on and on and on...yay!

Next thing I'm super stoked about...Barack Obama's campaign. Many of you know me (or have figured me) as somewhat of a pessimist, but Obama has my sense of hope for this country--and the world--making a remarkable comeback. I agree with many women that Senator Clinton has received double-standard treatment by the media and the public. It's frustrating to see, once again, that a candidate who happens to be a woman has to meet two sets of expectations--as a candidtate and as a woman. But even though I think this treatment of her is unfair and unfortunate, I am still a huge Obama supporter. I think it is more important to get the right president in office than to get a woman in the Oval office. To me, it is critical that this country start an entirely new chapter in its political, social, and economic course. I see my generation and those younger than me inheriting a seriously scarred environment, economy, and society from our parents and grandparents. If we don't start making big changes fast, we will have to hand these same problems to our own children--multiplied by a few orders of magnitude. I believe Senator Obama sees that we can choose between that outcome and a totally different outcome. One where our children have the opportunity to make affirmative choices instead of being forced into reactionary and defensive, survival-oriented decision-making. Not only does he present concrete proposals to reach the more cheerful outcome (for example, removing the cap on the Social Security tax and rapidly retooling education to train the American workforce for jobs in the green economy), he also presents a new approach to implementing his proposals. Imagine a Congress that rallies behind solutions to problems that at are the root of our nation's struggle to maintain friendly relations with emerging economic and military powers, that threaten the health and safety of our senior citizens...I know many people think Senator Obama is hopelessly naiive to "how Washington really works," but what those people aren't accounting for is that all the people who are excitied about Barack are the same people who will finally feel enfranchised to hold their bickering representatives accountable when they refuse to come to the table, try to stymie plans that are in everyone's best interests, and put their own power and egos in front of the common good. Yeah! We want progress--and if that means swallowing our party pride to get things moving, we're all for it! We all want good jobs, right? We all want good education for our kids, right? We all want our parents to be financially stable and healthy in their old age, right? We all want a more peaceful world, right? Then let's do it. Together we can. YES. WE CAN. Not only can we--we must. That is why I support Barack Obama.

11.march.2008 :: tuesday :: time warp

my shift keys have apparently stopped working. shouldn't be too disturbing, as i have a tendency to slip (slop?) into all lower-case anyway, but it's weird. actually...they must work or i wouldn't have been able to type the question mark. just seems to be for letters. hmm. please pardon.

i've decided to document the growth of my little garden. i took a few photos a couple days ago. there's not much to look at now, but just wait! i hope to have a fine offering for our friendly neighborhood bees and hummingbirds by this summer. oh! i also started some tomato and pepper seeds this weekend. they're all [hopefully] well on their way to germination in individual plastic cups in our garden shed. day three and counting...

13.march.2008 :: thursday :: my latest crush

I'm officially infatuated with gardening. I can't stop thinking about it. I want to play hooky from work to go futz around in the garden, even if all there is to do is look at the tiny plants I looked at yesterday, wonder if it's time to water again, and send GROW! energy to them with my loving gaze... [note:  I am unfortunately NOT playing hooky from work, even though I want to.  Just needed to clarify that.]

Today's topic:  what to do with conventional alfalfa seeds. Last fall, along with bee balm, cornflower, echinacea, tomato, and pepper seeds, I also bought alfalfa seeds.  The idea of growing our own sprouts was tantalizing...most of ya'll know how much I like sandwiches, so it's a logical progression for me.  I never did get around to learning about sprouting technique, though.  So until now, the unopened packet of alfalfa seeds has patiently sat in the garden shed.  It was the only thing I didn't open last weekend when I finally started the other veggies.  Last night I decided it was high time I figure out how to sprout the alfalfa (inspired, I admit, by a fantastic sandwich from Laurel Market for lunch yesterday--number 4, on rye, with sprouts instead of lettuce).  But the thought of rinsing the seeds in clorox as recommended on the packet really bugged me. So today I tried to research alternatives, and after some poking around came across SproutPeople . [Awesome.  Distraction.  Drooling.  Wish I had lots of money and nothing else to do...] Now I've decided to bag the idea of sprouting the seeds I have, which are conventional, in favor of buying some certified organic ones from SproutPeople.  But all is not lost!  I'll be planting the seeds I already have in the future hummingbird and bee garden as a gift to the soil.  As sprouthelper from SproutPeople noted in response to my question about it, the alfalfa fixes nitrogen in the soil and will be a nice addition of humus when I turn it under.  Yay!  I like stuff that grows...

?.march.2008 :: saturday :: still waiting

somehow i managed to spend nearly all of yesterday and all of today in the garden and there's still very little to show for it. i did finish constructing a fence around the garden patch out of the bamboo we [well, actually it was just Evan] harvested out of our backyard last summer. that took a long time. but hopefully it means that i can ditch the keg cups and milk carton that are protecting the wee plants from hungry critters as soon as their usefulness as makeshift greenhouses ceases. i'll try to remember to post a picture of it. today i spent a lot of time wrastlin' new bamboo runners in our yard. we've now lost our large spade and a trowel to the feisty things. and now it looks like we sustained some air strikes next to the garden shed, to boot.

sad thing is none of the tomatoes or peppers have sprouted yet. i think maybe i jumped the gun--it's still been in the 30s at night, and they're just out there in their little cups in the garden shed. probably freezing their little seed butts off. dang.