ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about human stupidity: the shrinking number of crops grown in agriculture.  This is so obviously a bad idea that advice against it goes all the way back to "don't put all your eggs in one basket."  The more diverse an ecosystem, the healthier it is; the less diverse, the less healthy.  That's because pests and pathogens spread rapidly in dense populations, and worst of all in monocultures.  Furthermore, when lots of people plant the exact same cultivars across whole regions, anything that hits one can wipe out a huge portion of the produce.  When I was little we had a corn smut in Illinois, and lost about a third of the crop, because every field with the susceptible cultivar turned black and died.  I said, "That was stupid.  We should stop doing that so this doesn't happen again."  Decades later, the narrowing is even worse in some regards.

On the bright side, we haven't lost all diversity yet, and there are still influential levers within the reach of most people.  You can grow heirloom varieties, or buy them whenever you find them.  Creating a demand for wider diversity will encourage producers to sell it.  Just buying brown eggs helps, because it means stocking something like Rhode Island reds in addition to white leghorns.  Two is better than one.  If you can get pastured eggs from a mixed flock, so much the better.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Bokashi composting is an anaerobic process that can reduce food scraps -- including meat and dairy as well as vegetables -- into highly acidic "pre-compost." Normally this is dug into a garden, but it shouldn't come into direct contact with plant roots immediately. This made me think of two other applications.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: (paladins)
This poem came out of the February 5, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] eseme and [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug. It also fills the "Be Here Now" square in my 2-1-19 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] satsuma, [personal profile] ng_moonmoth, [personal profile] kyleri, and [personal profile] edorfaus. It belongs to the series Path of the Paladins Volume 2.

Read more... )

Fruit Walls

Feb. 4th, 2019 01:23 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
A friend tipped me to this fascinating article about fruit walls, which can be bare or assisted with glass.  It is an excellent way of growing food in places with cold or windy weather.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This popped up on my Facebook feed:

Want an easy way to contribute to important bumble bee research, that anyone can do? It's not too good to be true! All you have to do is snap a photo, note your location, and submit to Bumble Bee Watch!

This is a win-win for scientists and contributors: folks can learn the identity of the species they've spotted, and the data provided by contributors helps to further our understanding of bee populations and distribution
.

https://www.bumblebeewatch.org/

Conservation tips:
http://xerces.org/bumblebees/
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 For my ace/aro friends, here is a t-shirt with a pile of giant squiggly zucchini.

Yes, someone made acepr0n on a t-shirt.  I am pretty sure they did not know they were doing that.  ;)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I fed the birds today.  I saw a red-bellied woodpecker, a downy woodpecker, and a goldfinch.  :D

I also walked around the yard.  Daffodils are sprouting in the flowerbed by the parking lot.  It's the earliest I've seen them; before this, the earliest was in January.  :/ 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is mild, breezy, and partly sunny.  I fed the birds.  House finches are out today.

Also I found a package of 20 mixed Dutch iris, so I planted those in the savanna. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is cloudy and cool.  My partner Doug brought in a bunch of firewood, and then I helped finish the stack.  We'll be buying a fresh load soon.

Then I fed the birds, and planted the other half of the crocus around the septic garden.

This morning I saw three squirrels around the hopper feeder!  I think it's the first time I've seen more than two at once.  :D  I also saw a male cardinal, several house finches and sparrows, and some dark-eyed juncoes.  The Bewick's wren was there too.  

 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny, breezy, and cool.  Yesterday we bought a big bag of 60 mixed crocus, so today I planted some of them around the septic garden.  Maybe about half?  Whew!  That was a lot of work.

Many of the plants are dead after the frost.  Most of the trees haven't turned color and there are dead gray-green leaves on a lot of them.  :/  WTF, Nature.

This morning I saw a squirrel, a bluejay, and a lady cardinal around the hopper feeder.  I saw a dark-eyed junco in the hopper feeder.  :D 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny and cool.  I went out and sprayed weed killer on poison ivy.

We had a light frost this week, so some of the summer flowers are dying.  The zinnias are almost gone.  Marigolds are still going strong though. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny, breezy, and cool.  I fed the birds.

I planted two bags of 7 Scilla Mix under the trees along the south side of the driveway. 

EDIT 10-17-18: I planted 12 Dutch Iris Mix in the wagonwheel garden at the end of the driveway.

The soybean field across the road is being harvested today.  Chaff everywhere, so thick you can see it hanging in the air. Bleh.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny, breezy, and chilly.  I planted two packs of 12 mixed crocus near the old fishpond along the driveway. 

EDIT 10-16-18: I went back out and planted 7 White Emperor tulips in the white garden at the end of the driveway.

More Bulbs

Oct. 16th, 2018 03:58 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We bought another batch of bulbs:

Two bags of 12 Crocus Mix
Two bags of 7 Scilla Campanulata Mix 
12 Dutch Iris Mix
7 White Emperor Tulips 
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the September 4, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] curiosity. It also fills the "thyme" square in my 9-5-18 Spices card for the 1000 Words or Less Bingo Fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] zianuray. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.  It follows "Creating a Community Around Food."


"His Kitchen Garden"
-- a triolet


For Shiv, his kitchen garden is a drawer.
He's running low on sage. He's out of thyme.
To make the soup he wants, he needs some more.
For Shiv, his kitchen garden is a drawer.
It's filled with herbs and dirt his hands explore.
He picks and cooks, when not engaged in crime.
For Shiv, his kitchen garden is a drawer.
He's running low on sage. He's out of thyme.

* * *

Notes:

Read about the triolet form.

Shiv's herb box contains (from left to right, top to bottom) rosemary, chervil, thyme, oregano, sage, and mint. It is upcycled from an old wooden drawer.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is cloudy and cool.  I collected seeds from the blackberry lily and a yellow wildflower, then planted those in the prairie garden. I collected seeds from the purple morning glory to save for spring planting.

I saw the bluejay again today, and a house finch.  The birds are more interested in the feeders as the weather cools. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is cool, cloudy, and damp.

I planted 12 Spanish Bluebells in the wildflower garden.   This concludes the batch of bulbs that I got from my father.  \o/  I may buy a few more later, but I'm done with the biggest portion of this fall's bulb planting.

I also collected seeds from the blackberry lily and the northern sea oats to plant in the prairie garden.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny, breezy, and much colder -- a beautiful fall day. :D Birds are much more active at the feeders. I saw two goldfinches, a lady cardinal, and a house finch. Robins are fluttering around the patio too.

I planted 25 Giant Yellow Jonquils for Naturalizing in the streetside yard, within view of the driveway.  These are in fact naturalized into the forest setting there.  \o/  Digging after yesterday's copious rain is much easier than when the ground is hard and dry.

EDIT 10/11/18 -- I planted  20  Technicolor Daffodil Mixture in the savanna. Some went in a ring around the contorta hazelnut, and the rest around the redbud tree. I am almost done planting the bulbs I got from my father. I just have the Spanish bluebells left.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny, breezy, and warm. I went out to dig up and throw away about 18 mushrooms from the south lot. :/ I noticed what looked like tiny pumpkins growing beyond the hedge. My partner Doug went out and picked up one of them. Possibly it is more of a tiny acorn squash, as we've eaten many of those and thrown the seeds on the grass wall. I may go out later and look for more.

EDIT 10/9/18 -- I went back out and planted Giant Daffodils for Naturalizing in the prairie garden as a large patch. I saw several monarchs drifting around.

EDIT 10/9/18 -- It's a little cooler out now, but very buggy. :P I planted 5 Double Campernelle Daffodils around the maple tree between the house yard and the south lot. These are fluffy fragrant ones. I planted 5 Keizerskroon Tulips amongst the Giant Daffodils in the prairie garden. Perhaps the daffodils will discourage critters from eating the tulips. Since these are red tulips with yellow edges, they should go great with yellow daffodils. :D

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