down to earth

I just finished watching the German film Der Nordwand, the North Face (literally north wall, which is what it looks like), about climbing the north face of the Eiger. Makes other mountain climbing movies pale by comparison. Mountain climbing is not for me, thanks anyway.

That’s the sort of thing Cindy wanted to do when we first met. Climb the north face of the Eiger, go to New Guinea and look for bugs the size of a small planet; I was climbing utility poles for a living at the time and never told her about the fun adventures you can have just thirty feet above the ground.

Reminded me of the well-known video of antenna climbing, which is here for anyone who likes heights and hasn’t seen it. I would have done this when I was younger; you don’t climb poles with the safety belt on, and so this would just be a lot higher. I was offered a job as antenna technician which involves climbing antennas this high, on the tops of mountains no less, so first you do the north face thing, then get to the top of the mountain and climb 1700 feet in the air. Or get to the antenna on snowshoes. I turned down that job. Paid the same as the one I had.

Anyway, it’s nice to sit in a chair and only think about things like this, and have both feet firmly on the ground. It’s raining again, sort of, and I noticed yesterday some teeny tiny cyclamen emerging near the parent plants.

And the white form of Crocus speciosus.

I’d never grown any conifers from seed before; though I’d planted the seed, nothing germinated, so I have to report being the proud owner of two tiny seedlings of Pinus monophylla. At least I hope that’s what they are. Though one of them came up in a pot labeled Townsendia, the other came up in a pot with the correct label and it would be too coincidental if these were seeds of any other conifer. I wrote about this pine back on August 4, and now I have two more. They can spend the winter outside in their pots, plunged into soil in the little nursery out in back, with a cage to keep rodents from looking at them too closely.

This update just in: Bulbs came in the mail, and I got out my trusty bulb planting tool. Not the one that’s been hanging in the shed for years, the new one. I’m not exactly sure for what kind of soil the old fashioned kind of bulb planter was designed, but certainly not for mine. Most of the bulb planting time is spent pushing the core of soil out of the planter. (A clump of soil was still in it when I dragged it out to have its picture taken.)

The new one wasn’t exactly cheap, but it works like a charm. Since I dig a lot of little holes, as well as big ones, I thought the price was justified. Very high quality tool, you use it kneeling on the ground, purchased from the Garden Tool Company and shipped the same day.

Sneeboer & Son bulb planting spade, on the left. It works. Other bulb-planting tool on the right.

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