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.