Saturday, June 23, 2018

Seed Success!

Remember those sweet pea seeds I planted back in March? Probably not, but anyway, I'd collected and saved them from our sweet pea plants last year. I wanted to try to grow them on as a kind of experiment -- I wasn't sure the seeds would be fertile or if the plants would bloom.

Ta-da! Finally, FINALLY, those little devils have started to flower. That's the first one, above, but as you can see there are some other buds coming along. Success!

Our nasturtiums are also blooming, and the cosmos and zinnias are coming along too, though we've had no flowers yet. If we have any disappointment on the seed front this year, it's the snapdragons. They haven't done much, although I think a lot of them were dug up by squirrels -- just like my purple poppies, which had finally been gaining some height before I saw, yesterday, that a squirrel rummaged through the pot. Some of them are still intact, but...grrrrrr....

This is how I spent my morning -- lying on the grass, reading. It was cool enough that I needed a sweatshirt, but at least I could wear shorts!

The garden is a flurry of activity at this time of year. Right now there are tits and robins and blackbirds on the feeders, and yesterday I watched a blackbird parent feeding its (quite large) chick. It would fly up to the suet feeder, collect some suet, bring it down to the ground and feed the chick. The chick could fly, and it was practically as big as the parent, but brown-streaked rather than black -- I'm not sure why it wasn't collecting its own food. Like any adolescent, it would apparently rather sit on the couch and play video games.

Anyway, what else did I do? I mowed the lawn. I transcribed more of my old journals. I went to the grocery store. I trimmed our front garden, which is basically a mountain of shrubbery -- some shrubs need to be cut back every now and then so as not to overwhelm the others. And between all the shrubs we have a wild foxglove blooming! Nature finds a way!

I also watched "The African Queen," which I'd wanted to see again since I read "Blood River," that book about the Congo, a few months ago. It was filmed there, and if Bogie and Hepburn aren't enough reason to watch it, the shots of the crocodiles and hippos and elephants certainly are. It's interesting to note that the population of the Congo when that movie was made, in 1950, was 12 million. Despite all the civil war and deprivation in that country since, it's now 78 million and counting. I wonder how those animals are faring?


  1. Perhaps the young blackbird is educationally subnormal or suffering from one of the learning issues that trouble many human youngsters these days - ADHD, dyspraxia, autism, dyslexia and laziness for example.

  2. When we were in Cozumel once, we watched a mother bird and a juvenile interact for two weeks and the youngster, who was absolutely as big as the mother, demanded that she feed him which she did but I swear- we could see her frustration. She tried to ignore him (why do I feel it was a he?) but he would call so loudly that she just could not. Now I know I was projecting as a mother myself but it got to the point where I was frustrated for her! By the time we had to leave though, the youngster was depending on her less and less and getting his own food.
    So fascinating to watch how these things work in the animal kingdom.
    One of the very saddest episodes of "Parts Unknown" (still on Netflix, by the way) was one in which Bourdain visited the Congo. They are not doing well there at all.
    Your garden is a wonder.

  3. You're a smart guy to sit outside and enjoy your garden. We work hard to develop a garden and then don't take time to enjoy it.

  4. I'd lay out in my garden except for it's too damn hot and also chiggers. little bastards. so glad your sweet peas are blooming. they are one of my favorites and you'd think I would plant them every year.

  5. Cool enough to need a sweatshirt?? It won't be that way here for several months! Congratulations on the sweet peas. Well done.

  6. I was going to mention Anthony Bourdain's visit to the Congo. I recorded it recently but mayu have deleted it without seeing it.

    Your day on the grass looks idyllic.

  7. I love how you take care of your garden and watch it grow with such delight. Yes! Interesting thinking about the population of the planet. It has nearly tripled in my life time.

  8. I've been seeing the very same thing with the blackbirds here! The parents are feeding the teenagers (who also don't seem to have very good balance on tree limbs yet) and I'm thinking about human teenagers who open the fridge and cupboards and then whine "there's nothing to eat" ...

    I haven't laid on a blanket on the grass for decades. The ground is too freaking hard for my body! lol As Red said, you are smart to get out there and enjoy the beautiful surroundings you've worked to cultivate.

  9. I love seeing you on that blanket reading with Olga moseying around! Now that's enjoying a garden!

  10. Hi Steve, we're on the 2nd day of our holiday in an hotel near Stratford-upon Avon. This morning my husband was out at 6am, exploring the 7 acres of gardens, woodland and nature reserve. I surfaced quite a bit later, and eventually ended up in the grounds on quite a steep slope, and DH actually put my brakes on (normally he just gives me a sharp shove at the top of a hill, to give me my daily dose of adrenalin., but he didn't want to injure all the bunnies that were running around. By 11am, we were settled in the sun enjoying a double gin and tonic (me) and a pint of Threakston (him) After a few of those he was raking pics of me to send to my mates in the US. (I give them a travelogue of all our trips) but, and this is what relates to your blog my DH was wearing shorts, and boy he doesn't have the legs his Dad did, even into his late 60s they were superb ('nuff said) DH was also wearing a Tee with the message 'I'm a fully paid up member of grumpy old gits club' Now how could I send a picture to all my US friends, who all call him ' Handsome John' which he is unless wearing shorts?

  11. Having very similar weather here, the roses are loving it, the abundance of flowers is remarkable...sunshine is GOOD! I love that is is twilight at ten in the evening. I am hesitant to fully enjoy knowing that we are on the down hill slide into darkness that seems to last far too long!

    Just catching up with your blog- The painting of the angel at the table is amazing. Looking at it over and over again.

    Well done on the summertime garden outfit.

  12. YP: Time for some Adderall!

    Ms Moon: It's funny how similar parenting can be across species! Much of the frustration that human parents feel with their teenagers probably extends across the animal kingdom, and we just don't fully appreciate it.

    Red: Well, that's one good thing about having a summer vacation!

    Ellen: Chiggers! Ugh! Fortunately we don't have them here, at least as far as I know. My babysitter in Florida used to tell me not to handle Spanish moss because it was full of chiggers. I have no idea whether that's true.

    Sharon: Yeah, we're having a cool spring/summer so far, but at least it's sunny!

    Catalyst: I should look for that episode on Netflix, but I feel sure it would depress me, in more ways than one.

    Robin: It's scary, isn't it?! SO many people.

    Jenny-O: This one seems to be balancing just fine, at least from what I saw. There's a lot of refrigerator whining, though, for sure.

    37P: It was a nice morning!

    Lesley: I have still never been to Stratford-Upon-Avon! Sounds like you're enjoying your holiday and I'm glad you're being considerate of the bunnies. I say take a picture anyway -- we are who we are, right?

    Linda Sue: Yes, the sun is incredible! I'd forgotten what it looks like! LOL! Fortunately that dark time is still a long, long way off and by then we'll be ready for it.

    John Gray: A veritable mountain!