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July 21st, 2016

05:50 pm - Movie Review/commentary: Ghostbusters

As one would expect, HERE BE SPOILERS, at least some.

Let's start with: I liked it! It's a hell of a lot of fun. It's a good origin story, it has verve. It doesn't need to stand up to comparison with the original, because it is entirely different from the original in feel and focus.

And that is the part I want to talk about. Because gender sure as hell plays into that. Not necessarily in "good" or "bad" ways, but ways.

This gets longCollapse )

I loved this movie. I loved the relationships of the main characters.

But I wish more than one of them got to be "cool."

*yes, loaded word is loaded deliberately

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June 23rd, 2016

01:12 pm - Garden update

The bunnies have finished the corn. I had to take the cage off it so it could grow taller than 2 feet, and boom, that was it. So something else will go in there.

I do have one stalk of corn that is hidden the pot with carrots, so that will likely make it to fruition. Speaking of the carrots, though, they are suddenly all putting up flowers, which makes for awful carrots, even if they weren't still tiny things. I have no idea what's happening there. My beets (in the same pot) are mature, and about an inch across. Which, okay, cute baby-size beets to roast. I need to put a second crop of beets into another pot.

Lettuce still going strong. Asian greens all gone to seed, oh well. Will do another round of them in autumn. They are sweet.

Myoga has 12 shoots! No flower buds yet (that's the edible bit).

Peas are done for the season. Need to cut them down and put something else in that pot, probably tomatoes or peppers, maybe my spare cuke seedling.

Now in Earthboxes: 5 types of tomatoes, two types of pony watermelons, one basic cucumber. Some of the tomato seedlings and one of the watermelon seedlings got sunburned because I forgot they need to be toughened up a bit before they can spend 16 hours in full blazing sunlight. Those now have a shade over them so they get a bit of sun in the morning and a lot of afternoon sun, but not high noon sun. They seem to be recovering and putting on new growth.

The big strawberry patch is taking a break. There will be more strawberries later, to judge by the flowers and buds, but right now it's busy putting out runners, and I should probably put pots of dirt under them to capture some more plants. The other strawberry plant is now starting to fruit, shows no sign of putting up runners.

The potatoes have been flowering, which is when they start to put on tubers. I lost one plant to some sort of bug, or maybe overwatering They need water when putting on tubers, but I might be too aggressive? And also not all of them flowered simultaneously. And of course I have planted them much too close together. Have now raised the sides of the boxes with more cardboard and stacked the mulch high. I am probably doing it all wrong, and will lose them all despite potatoes being "really easy" according to a friend. We'll see.

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May 31st, 2016

10:19 am - Garden update

Snow peas: harvesting! Snacked on two of them; they are so much sweeter and crunchier when they've just been picked ten minutes ago.

Regular peas: ripening.

Potatoes: the blue ones are starting to put out flowerbuds. I'll need to hill the dirt again on those soon.

Myoga: has put forth shoots! It appears to have survived and was just waiting for the weather to improve!

Strawberries: Have harvested 9 so far. This morning I found one on the ground with a peck in it where a bird tried (and FAILED! Ha ha ha!) to get it through the netting. Am very glad of the netting.

Lettuce and other greens: growing. The rabbits have either slowed down or are deterred by the plastic forks stuck upright into the dirt as a spiky barrier.

All the other seedlings: still in the tray, waiting for me to get my shit together and plant them. I may do a bit of that today, if it cools off a bit later. The cukes in particular are looking restless. I need to make a new bed for the sunflower, or maybe I'll just plant it out front and be done with it. The poor thing is nearly 3 feet tall and living in a 3" peat pot. It needs to put down a deep root somewhere.

My spectacular irises aren't going to bloom this year because I didn't care for them properly and they were overrun by weeds. I may dig them up in late summer and relocate them to a happier place.

The peonies gave me a few flowers, but others had buds that turned black and fell off. The Internet tells me this is a common thing the first year or two, as the fussy ladies don't like to be moved. Fair enough.

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May 23rd, 2016

03:28 pm - quick garden update

Because the garden is the only thing I do now, apparently.

Chickenwire cage over corn seems to be keeping critters out. Will see.

Bird netting over strawberries: ditto. All the berries are green right now.

More concerning is the lack of bees. I don't know if something happened this year, or if it's just because it's been weird weather, a cold Spring. I have chive flowers and roses in full bloom, and no bees. I'll keep looking. Maybe I was just checking when they weren't active. I saw some in April when it was warm and sunny, so I really do think/hope it's just the weather. Wednesday is supposed to be warm and sunny again (first time in a month!) so I'll look for them then.

The pea plants are starting to show signs of maybe they are done putting on length and are ready to offer some flowers.

I prepped the last two Earthboxes, and perhaps this coming weekend I will start putting seedlings in. Though first I need to map out what goes where, because I have a lot more plants than space. My problem, of course, is that I want to do comparisons between seeds I harvested myself and seeds from a commercial supplier. That means doubling up on some varieties.

Oh, good news: the myoga came up! Not all of them, but one in particular and now there's another small one popping up. So I have hope! They might just have been waiting for the weather to sort itself out.

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May 17th, 2016

07:00 pm - Minor gardening update

So after the bunnies ate the corn seedlings, and then bunnies or possibly birds dug up and ate the replacement corn seed I planted, I decided a physical barrier was needed. A cage of chicken wire now caps the Earthbox where the third(!) round of seeds have been planted. It has been two days and nothing seems to have attacked it, so I am tentatively calling this a win. We'll see if we can get the corn to a reasonable height before I have to take the wire off.

The pak choi went prematurely to seed. Apparently this is because we had so many chilly nights in a row. I can replant and if the weather holds cool, I'll get a bit in June, since it grows fast. Also, I can put it in the partial shade where the lettuce is. This let the lettuce grow all the way into August last year before it bolted, so that seems to be a good spot for greens. I'll do another pak choi planting in the fall.

The beets are putting up greens and the carrots are adorable little fuzzy lacy plants.

The pea plants are growing well, but no sign of pods yet. I've never grown peas before, so I have no idea when they do their thing.

Tomatoes, peppers, cukes, watermelon, some greens, and some flowers are still in seedling trays, as the unseasonable cool and cloudy (WE LIVE ON DRAGAERA NOW) has made no point to putting them out. They have better conditions under the grow light in the shelter of the porch.

No sign of the garlic or the myoga. I am very sad.

The potatoes are growing well, putting up lots of greens. I need to add more dirt and start the hilling soon.

The strawberries have a jillion flowers and are setting green fruit. I'll need to do some chicken wire around those, I predict, to keep the bunnies out.

The roses are flowering. The lilies are getting taller. The peonies have a few buds. The irises are still asleep. Everything is just waiting for the sun to come out for more than three or four hours in a row.

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May 12th, 2016

11:58 am - Those goddamn rabbits

...or possibly birds, maybe. Crows are very smart, after all.

So this morning I saw that the corn seed I had replanted was dug up and eaten. This leads me to suspect birds or possibly field mice (though how the field mice would get up there and why they would bother I don't know).

So next step is a physical barrier. I'll use chicken wire to build a kind of tent/cage over the box. That should protect it until the seedlings are young shoots, and then I just have to figure how to protect the corn once it has ears.

If something gets the corn through the chicken wire, then I'll know it's mice.

In the meanwhile, I need to put lights out there, and also to sprinkle used cat litter around. Fortunately, I have a ready supply of used cat litter. I've been delaying, though, because it's been rain, rain, rain, rain, RAIN OMG WHEN WILL IT STOP RAINING, rain, rain here.

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May 5th, 2016

10:26 am - Vague update

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, chaosvizier!


Today's gardening update is that the bunnies at the corn seedlings, the little fuckers. They did this last year and I replanted, so I'll replant again now. But they have demonstrated willingness to hop up on the Earthbox, so I may need a fence or something to keep them off the corn once it grows.

Also, we are living in a permanently overcast world, with cloudcover for the past week, continuing through the weekend. My plants are so sad and confused and desperate for sun. It's the first week of May and hasn't cracked 70° in weeks. Everything is growing so slowly.

Saw the two fattest doves ever this morning, pecking around in my front flower beds where there are lots of bugs and seeds. Seriously these were huge doves, practically spherical. They could be quail, for all I know. (I doubt quail are roosting around the suburbs of Philadelphia.)

I need to work a small bed in next to the lamppost so I can plant my sunflower. I have exactly one, but I really want it to grow and be a giant ridiculous flower in my yard.

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April 22nd, 2016

12:28 pm - An incomplete list of 80s creative icons who need to be put in a bunker for safeguarding:
Adam Ant
Cyndi Lauper
Boy George
David Byrne
Robert Smith
Kate Bush
Debbie Harry

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April 17th, 2016

08:34 pm - More gardening!

Because of the late cold, I've been able (been forced to) stagger the work on the mini-farm.

I finally got the grow light together and started some seeds last week:

Tomatoes: Super Sweet 100s, Black Cherry, Milano Plum--these are popping seedlings already. Also put in some Romas, Orange Pixie, and Costoluto Genovese.

Flowers: Opus China Aster (annual), Sunflower (one seedling up!), Scabiosa caucasia (a perennial, seedlings up), false indigo (perennial)

Greens: the two varieties of Japanese greens and also frisée, all of which have popped A LOT of seedlings. Sad how many I'll have to thin out. :(

other: watermelons and cucumbers, and a few types of sweet peppers

In the garden already:
thyme, chives
potatoes: two kinds, Russian Banana and purple fingerlings
variety of lettuce
bok choy

I put in green bean seeds, but they haven't sprouted. It might have been too cold. I don't know whether to plant more or just keep hoping.

I moved 6 strawberry plants to their new home which is in more sun than the previous location. Only possible problem is the bunnies. We'll see what happens.

And today I planted corn and carrots. The carrots are purple, red, and black, because why would I have standard orange carrots? Though I might plant some orange ones, too. And also I planted a few beets.


My peonies are growing well--all 5 plants have put up lots of shoots. The roses have lots of new growth, though no buds yet. The starflowers came up in front, which heartens me, since I know they will reproduce like mad and become a fun front border on the beds. (right now they look ridiculous, little flowers on skinny stalks every 3-6 inches along the front.) The irises look to be waking up, with the leaves looking taller and larger now.

No sign of the lilies yet, nor of the myoga, nor my garlic. I'm going to assume they're just slow and will come along in a month or so.

So yeah, a lot going on in my little tract of land. It makes me so happy!

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March 18th, 2016

05:08 pm - This is turning into an all-gardening blog

Probably because I have no writing to report and dayjob sucks all my time and energy.

Have prepped several boxes to be ready for planting. Have planted peas and lettuce, because they like the cooler weather. Also planted green beans (a bit early, probably) and pak choi.

And then I committed Seed Ordering, which in this case also included seed potatoes. There will not be enough room in my garden for everything this year, even with the addition of two more Earthboxes and a third open box!

It's a sickness.

Corn goes in next week or the week after--it's technically early for my part of the country, but the EBs have warmer soil than the ground, and I don't care if a frost kills them and I have to replant.

Also on the schedule for later:

tomatoes (of course)
these random Japanese greens my BFF's mom gave me seeds for (no idea what they are--the packaging is in Japanese).
catnip, maybe

(the thyme is a perennial and it's already green and growing. Ditto the chives, even though they're not in the song.)

Also staring hard at the myoga bed and hoping they come back. They're a rhizome/perennial, so they should, but that patch got a pile of moss over it. I pulled up the moss, but don't see the roots anywhere. Not that I should. But I really have to resist the urge to start digging around to find them.

I also have a whole bunch of strawberry plants that are the offshoots of one from last year. I need to transplant them from the Earthbox to a different box (I want the EB for corn).

I also ordered some flower seeds for things that are perennials, but need to be started indoors. We'll see where they end up going. I have 2 huge rosebushes already (they REALLY need to get trimmed back this autumn!), and two Russian sage that are bloody unkillable. And I planted a bunch of bulbs including 5 peonies. So we'll see what comes up!

Also continuing the plan to put a hedge at the back of the property. I don't think the boxwoods survived the winter, so I'll ask Rachel to bring me more (Rachel donated the last two. She has a bunch at her place that she's trying to get rid of. I gave her black-eyed susans in exchange).

I may need to draw an actual diagram of what I want to grow, and where. Yikes.

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