sunsets, seeds, and owls

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to bring you some news from our garden and its environs. You may remember me from such posts as “Our Winter, This Far”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.As you can see, the sun was out today, but it wasn’t hugely toasty. In fact, it’s supposed to snow again for the next three days. You can imagine the complaining.  But then it’s supposed to warm up again, to almost sixty degrees (F) by Thursday.

Just like always, not much has been happening, but in keeping with what the guy I live with called “an excessively sibilant title” to my post, a few evenings ago we had a nice sunset, and here are the pictures to prove it.
This next one is the owls’ favorite tree. It’s kind of creepy with the big broken branches, and holes drilled into it by woodpeckers. The sun went down all the way after that, the way it does around here.

And, finally, we did some gardening. I’d been waiting for this for quite a long time. There was a little bit of gardening yesterday, with some grasses being cut down, and stuff like that, but today, some seeds were sown.
These were mostly penstemons from Alplains, which were purchased last year. The seeds are still viable, and some people say germination is even better with older seeds, and, anyway, the guy I live with has been doing hardly anything (trust me, here) for such a long time, it was a relief to see he could function at all.
I’ll show the method, even though it’s been shown before.

The seed pots (the same B.E.F. Grower’s Pots as always; they’re about thirty years old) are filled with a soil-less mix, which in this case is leftover stuff from last year and the year before. Some peat moss, coarse sand, perlite, and so forth.
Then they go into almost-as-old dish pans, to soak up water. The water is poured into the bottom of the dish pan; hot water, which cools off rapidly.I watched all of this, which is why I know.
When the soil-less mix has become damp, labels with names written on them go in first (always), then the seeds are sprinkled on top of the soil-less mix. Then the surface of the soil-less mix is covered with fine gravel (called “squeegee” here, for some reason), and the pots are placed in trays on the shelves on the patio.I guess with some seeds, once they have imbibed and it freezes, the seeds can be killed, but it doesn’t seem to bother penstemons.
An alternative method would be to stratify them in the refrigerator for a few months, but this method, being the lazy one, is the method the guy I live with likes the best.

Ideally, the pots would go into an open frame, made of two-by-fours, but there weren’t any around, and the guy I live with couldn’t figure out a place to put a frame even if he did have the lumber handy. The theory is that snow helps insulate the pots, and when it melts, it’s like the way it happens in real life.
But putting the pots on shelves is the way it was done for about twenty years, so it’s kind of like revisiting the past, or something.

And now the owls. We still see them on my evening walk. Not every evening, but most evenings. If we don’t see them, we still hear them.
These were taken on two different evening walks, but the owls were always in that same tree.
The pair of them, on a gloomy and chilly evening. Here, the lower one is about to hoot. You can see how they raise their tail feathers; next they thrust their heads out and hoot away.
A couple more pictures.
We both like the owls a lot; I guess I’ve given up trying to catch them, but I still growl at them from time to time. The guy I live with says the owls aren’t afraid of me.

So that’s it for today’s post. I hope you found it incredibly fascinating.

Until next time, then.

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22 Responses to sunsets, seeds, and owls

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Those owls probably are not afraid of anything!

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    That’s the way I like to see snowdrops growing – a good spread!

  3. Mee-yow toetallee fascinatin post Mani! Seereuslee LadyMew an mee are inntrigued with THE soiless potss an growin those seedss. Yore Guy iss purrty clevurr.
    Wee just know littel plantss will pop up soon.
    An wee were told wee goin to have BIG snowstorm!! All scarey red warninss on Tee V….hhmmm, wee gotted 2 inchess…LadyMew said it was Aunty-Climatick (not sure what that meenss?)
    All mee knowss iss that it gotted too chilley to go out inn Condo…..
    THE Owlss are so kewl. Mee betss they look fore youss’ like youss’ look fore them.
    Jack an Gary Sparrow an Mack an Jack Sparrow are all back from who-knowss-where an wee put out seedss fore them 2-3 timess a day. An peanutss, sunflower seedss an even peestacheeo’ss for Fluffy an Chubby Black Squirrelss… they have not relly gone to hyburrnate this Winter or shuud mee meow None-Winter!
    Yore fotoss of you are lovelee Mani. Yore so fotogenick! An furabuluss sunset fotoss Guy!
    Wee allwayss enjoy comin bye to vissit you both!
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma an guud wishess from LadyMew

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. It’s supposed to snow here today, but hasn’t, yet. It’s kind of nice out.
      The guy I live with says we have too many squirrels here; they steal sunflower seeds from the feeders and I have to chase them away. It’s fun to do, though.
      The idea for sowing seeds that way wasn’t his, but he liked how easy it was. Almost no gardening has taken place for over two years now so the guy I live with thought he would do something.

      • Iss snowin here today Mani…iss furry chilley out….NO outside Condo for mee! CATFISH!
        Mew mew mew yore Official Squirrel Chaser…sumtimess they do get a bit pushy. Wee have Fluffy an Chubby an Sweetie black squirrelss. They take ternss…wee have poe-lite squirrelss.
        Chipmunkss are hyburrnatin….
        Guud on Guy fore doin sum plantin…pleese tell him hee iss a GRATE gardener an wee love to reed what hee iss doin an see fotoss!
        **purrss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        Thanks. I’m not sure the guy I live with is a great gardener, since he doesn’t do very much. He mostly just likes looking at the garden.
        It’s snowing here too, or it was. Not a lot of snow, but it’s supposed to be cold tonight. 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
        The squirrels try to get all the sunflower seeds, but they’re for chickadees and birds like that. Not for rodents.

      • Mee-yow wow wee have simmylar tempss Mani! Iss onlee 14 deegreess here an snow has stopped…Sun iss shinin butt too chilley fore mee to go out.
        An mee agreess that seedss are fore birdiess, mew mew mew…..
        An lookin at THE garden countss inn gardenin accordin to LadyMew. Hu’manss are so funny, mew mew mew 😉

      • paridevita says:

        It’s nice here now. The sun is out. Maybe some of the snow will go away…

      • Sun was out here this mornin an mee went out inn Condo beecause of stewpid Fire Alarm goin off….it was -14 with a windychill of -20 deegreess….mee was a ‘catsickle’ aftur 10 minutess….
        CATFISH! Mee iss reddy fore Spring 😉
        **purrss** BellaDharma

      • paridevita says:

        I think we are all ready for spring.

      • Mee iss missin beein out inn Condo Mani 😦
        At leest you can take yore Hu’man fore walkss!!

  4. Lisa says:

    I actually did find it a bit fascinating, perhaps even incredibly, because I love penstemons and will be watching those pots with bated breath! I thought it was “baited” and wondered what the meant, but it’s “bated” which I find was first used by Shakespeare. I like “baited” better, since we’re waiting for something, in this case for penstemons to germinate, and we wait for fish with bait.
    Anyway, nice sunset photos the guy you live with took. I guess you had to take his word for how beautiful it was, being a dog and all, and not seeing the same colors as he did.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; I’m not much into sunsets, really.
      Penstemons are pretty easy to grow from seeds in the way I showed. The guy I live with got kind of discouraged when all his seedlings were killed by hail three years ago, but he decided to start again.
      Bated makes more sense than “baited”, for sure.

      • Lisa says:

        Good to know. I tried for two years to grow some firecracker penstemon, only to give up and toss the seeds in a bed. Guess what? Yes, they grew, and bloomed this last year. I saved some seeds and let others drop. I’m trying a couple of kinds this year. I should hold back some seeds and toss them in!

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with says that happens sometimes. What he does–what he did, he hasn’t grown any penstemons for a while now–is cut off most of the stems when they have seeds on them, and lay them on the ground, so that the plants don’t spend more energy ripening the seeds. They ripen on their own, usually.
        Sometimes creatures eat the seeds, though. That happens with a lot of seeds that he just tosses into the garden.

  5. You and those owls, Mani, seem to have developed quite the relationship. Those aren’t skinny owls either, so they must be fierce. They photograph well against the gloomy and chilly evening sky. I look forward to seeing the penstemon growing in your garden, perhaps sprawling all over in the way they do here. Your guy’s planting method seems labor-intensive. My method is walking about scattering seed low to the ground. Birds get their share, of course. Only seems right given the entertainment they provide at the backyard fountain. Of course, what our garden really needs is a stylish pure-bred border collie lounging — ur, guarding the place.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. I do lounge around a lot, but I have an excellent role model, you know.
      The guy I live with sows seeds that way so, in theory, he has more control over them. The seedlings are planted out in August or September.
      I guess the owls are getting ready to find a nest to rent. They certainly do find a lot to eat; we see their pellets all the time.

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