Geraniums and other growing things

My vine geranium, Pink Tornado (I named it Nicole), is vining like crazy, but not a single bloom. It is a vining plant, so that is good, but it really should have pink flowers on it somewhere! Researching geraniums, I learned there is a lot about those plants! They originated from Africa and are (to me) one of the most cheerful flowering plants around. The outside ones never did make it out of the laundry room this year. First, it was too cold and then it got way too hot! (Although, now I know they are from Africa, they most likely would have survived the heat part of the season.) So, why isn’t Nicole blooming? It can’t be because she doesn’t have enough sunshine, since she is in the kitchen window and gets full sun til the orb moves around the house about 3 pm now. Then, Nicloe has a lot of light ti,l well, it gets dark!! The plant may be getting too much water. I don’t usually water things because most of the plants are too high for me. This one is within reach, but letting The Craftsman do it makes him happy. However, it could be the soil in the pot. One of the things the plant needs is ‘friable’ soil. Which I had to look up. It is  not soil that you can cook with, it means it is soil that is crumbly and doesn’t clump when you squish it in your palm. (Unlike snow, which is best when it squishes into a ball with your hands, but I digress!) So, will need to see if that is the case..Bloom or not, Nicole does have an amazing length of vine! 

Was outside on Saturday doing some trimming in the yard. The lilacs often have dead limbs that need removed. After the first year living on this property, lilac trimming has been something done with great caution. The first year, The Craftsman cut and trimmed and shaped and there were not very many blooms the next couple of springs. Turns out a lilac needs a third cut at a time, so the other two thirds keep blooming and your lilac hedge doesn’t end up looking dilapidated! This time The Craftsman was cutting back chokecherry (which appears to have choked out the spice bush that had been growing-super amazing flowers and the plant smells like cinnamon! This pics are from the yard so long ago) and a pine that sheds needles like some cats shed hair and created a huge pile of branches. So, while the guys went up to the Blue ‘Mountains’ (yes, in the middle of a project), I decided to use the heavy duty clippers myself. Lilac is super hard, so I needed all the help I could get! I was almost finished when the darn things slipped from where I’d decided to cut on a trunk a bit above my head and bonked me HARD on the side of my noggin. (It still hurts and today is Monday.) Decided about then, I was done. I also didn’t clean up my mess, but it was very sore!!! The hauling debris truck is here today (not to be confused with the huge trucks or the Ranger truck, it is the normal pickup truck because the old debris hauling truck is still full of debris..go figure!) and so I’ll help load up some branches in a bit. 

Had to call The Craftsman down from his mom’s Sunday afternoon (where he got the debris truck) because I smelled a yucky smoke-like scent from the laundry room. Little Bear was doing laundry and had left (of course). I walked out to the laundry room and about gagged from the odor. It appears it needs a new belt. It is the oldest washer and has truly been the best spite of the squeaking and what not. The newer one that died ages ago is wrapped outside (totally redneck, but it IS wrapped up in plastic and has been for more than a year) and he said he’d get around to fixing that soon. 

Charlie, Alpha, and Pee Wee (in order of photos) are still eating away and growing fast. Little Bear said these were a lot more fun to watch than the Painted Lady cats I ordered. Probably because we are getting to watch them from egg onwards. Although, he did admit, they were a lot more work to feed and a lot more work to keep track of when they were smaller!!! It is a bit difficult to get photos, since they prefer to snack from underneath the leaves, but every so often I’m lucky. I was surprised at how hard it was to find them even when they are over an inch long, but they are mostly green and match the maple leaves. But, I managed and wow!!! A super fun part of the cycle of life. Especially as they are still alive!!!! 

To do, or not to do….

That is truly the question.

First, expanding a trifle on a response I made to M Monster. I enjoy caterpillars because they are almost magical. These teeny little zillion legged bugs eat and eat and eat and eat and get more ugly in every stage (I really don’t care for bugs with legs!!) and they eventually hibernate for months (or weeks) inside a sleeping bag they have made all by themselves. While they are ‘sleeping’ they turn into goo that is apparently tasty to squirrels and woodpeckers and mice. Eventually, they wake up, emerging as creatures with wings that you cannot even imagine how they folded into that little changing room! At this moment, there are 3 instars (names for the caterpillars) still munching away in their little plastic house. I was skeptical for several days since two appeared dead. However, this is something else they do normally. They don’t have skins that grow like ours and they need to shed in order to grow. Since squiggling out of their old skin takes a bit, they need to rest for quite a while. I was worried because you also should not touch them during this time and I did..thankfully, they are still alive!!! I’ve finally named them, sort of. Charlie (C), Alpha (A), Tango (T), and Pee Wee (it is the littlest one). Tango seems to have disappeared. I most likely tossed it out when changing out the maple leaves last week. I am soooo annoyed! Pee Wee was probably one of the last eggs to hatch and so is a bit behind Charlie and Alpha. I can’t tell them apart (except for Pee Wee), so naming them is a bit silly. But fun!!! I am doing with these guys because it is a task I started and I really want to see it finish well. They have several weeks left (still fairly small and hard to photograph) before they hibernate til next June.

This crazy block thing in WP is also a pain to work with..I think it is on par with the chromebook!!! I used to always type my documents and then copy and paste them into WP because it was simpler. It still is (am not doing it at the moment, though) and i have come close to trashing this post several times!!!! (I sincerely hope Ms. Monster’s link works without it looking as funky as it does in this editor!) It seems illogical to take 45 min to type in a single paragraph! No matter, with change comes a need to be flexible! Reluctantly!

Am also working on a project. I’m not sure how it is going to turn out. I had this brilliant idea to make throw rugs out of old tshirt scraps I’d cut apart to eventually someday probably make blankets out of. Anyway, am not sure it is worth it. Tshirt scraps make great oil rags for mechanics and there are still a lot of them left. The rug I’m making needed a crochet hook, which was more than 5$ (I think) and it has taken me hours to get very far on this rug since I keep needing to tear it apart and put it back together and it is BORING! I could have purchased an old towel at a thrift store for less than a dollar and taken little time at all! This particular ‘rug’ is for the bathroom, so a towel is an easy to wash idea I’ve used many times. The coolest thing I’ve learned, however, is how to make a single strip of fabric out of the bottom half of a shirt. Unfortunately, you are not supposed to cut apart that bottom half and most of the rags I made are.

Mixed up another batch of essential oils Alaskan Sunset. I don’t use it much because of the animals and now the caterpillars, but it is nice to put on sheets or other out of the way areas. I was going to do it outside, but remembered the little house is tidy from when we had visitors from TX earlier this month. I really wish I could work out there. It is a super nice hangout and as much as I don’t mind not having a bathroom, it is impossible to use a chromebook out there since it can be used offline, but it is not efficient. The little house is a good spot for the oils, the only thing out there are spiders and the odors can’t get to the rabbits (who also can die from inhaling the concentrated scents). Mittens rarely goes out there and she’d probably just leave if the scent was too annoying! Which makes cats smarter than most other animals…which a good portion of the internet agrees with!

Watermelon has been the go to snack lately. One of the neighbors is a volleyball ref and at a training session for refs, someone brought in a LOT of melons. They sent her home with three and as her household consists of herself and several large dogs, she brought us one. I think we’ll finally have it finished by Sunday!!! The biggest container is the only one left and we’d already emptied 3 of the medium containers and refilled them by this photo time. Not a lot has been doing well here besides melons. Little Bear has brought home cantaloupe twice from work. Once we just didn’t get to it in time and had to mulch it. The garden beans have tiny little bugs (don’t think these are very nice ones, nor will they become something lovely!), but I can usually get almost a cup a week from the vines. I even made my kind of Pork and Beans!!! Some of the sunflowers blew over in a windstorm we had, but the gold finches and red winged black birds don’t seem to mind. This time of year is truly a time of the singing of the birds! The squirrels usually just yell…and eat.

Find Out!

In the last while, I have realised research is not really a thing anymore. (I can already feel the outrage of readers as I type. Readers who use google or another search engine to go and find out!!) But, it it true! Many of  us use a search engine for hours to find information, yet we often don’t look at more than what we are looking for. (unless we stumble upon a cat video or an ad for a movie we might be interested in-Little Bear was doing something and ended up having ME attempt to look for information on the Dune movies!)

Time after time, on FB or WP or elsewhere, I read a post and the following comments to find out what is being said. If I see a news article, I read from other sources on the same topic. (although, news is more often than not slanted towards the hopeful ingesters to give them the pap or possible meat they may be able to digest without discomfort!) 

There is a blog I follow about moths. The original poster has left it up and running and someone else, I think, has adopted it. One of the links is for questions and there are over 190 comments. Comments that almost always are absolutely identical! No wonder the original blogger bowed out. “I found a moth and it has been laying eggs everywhere, I want to keep some. What can I do?” The answer is written out plainly. Two posts further you run across someone else who needs to know ASAP and cannot take the time to see if someone else has asked. “I found a female moth laying eggs and I want to raise the caterpillars. What do I do?” A fairly similar answer is given. Two more questions later is another query on what to do with either a caterpillar or a moth and the same answers were typed in. Then, you get the folks who seem to think they know what they are doing and the poor blogger has to rephrase the original answers to fit those circumstances! I found dates on these queries from 2012 to just recently!! If people would only take the time to read. 

That reminds me of a podcast by Mike Rowe. (similar stories to  ones shared ages past by the American radio host Paul Harvey) He mentioned how he’d write thoughts on FB and over and over find the response of ‘TLDR’ under it. Finally, he had to ask a young friend what the heck that meant and he was stunned. Why would a person follow someone, like something that was written, and comment that it was too long and not read???? I think it is because most people just don’t want to look further than their immediate desire. In our world today, answers are at our fingertips, so why would we look further than we need to? And why on earth would we think that anyone else might have had the same questions and thoughts we have? 

In some books I just finished, the main character kept jumping to conclusions. They were almost always wrong, but since she was protected by plot armour, she could do whatever she wanted and get away with it for the seven books in the series. She’d usually get others involved in helping her find out how those wrong conclusions fit together and eventually she’d get to the correct answer. Alas, real people don’t have plot armour and in our leaps across information, we can often fall short. Thankfully, there are also tiny blobs or crumbling information around that rock we are aiming for and can scramble around like goats on a mountainside. (goats are more sure footed than humans, more annoying, too!) 

Meanwhile, I still have 4 caterpillars as of yesterday, and need to find them fresh leaves again. I hope they will survive until this evening. It is over 100 degrees F outside at the moment and I would prefer to pick the leaves when they are pre wilted!! According to what I’ve read, these are the easiest to raise, but dang, they are a lot of work!!!!!!!! Especially the finding out part, but they ARE growing, so that is grand.