Wednesday, June 24, 2009

One thing leads to another

And now we are EGGHEADS!

Reading 1001 African Violet Questions Answered by 12 Experts edited by Helen Van Pelt Wilson, I found a question that tweaked my curiosity.

"Question 156. I am asked, is egg-shell water beneficial?"
The book's expert scoffed a bit at the notion African Violets craved calcium or that they would ever need to be watered with eggshell water. So I did a search to see if this was an old time-tested "grandma recipe" ...or a myth. Found other old-fashioned tips as well, such as adding used coffee grounds as fertilizer (which I've done to outside plants), banana peels beneath house plants (which I will not!) or inserting rusty nails into the plant pot soil to give it iron?
And RAINWATER is said to be a good thing.

(Don't get me started. I'm ready to run screaming from the house like a mad woman the instant the sun appears...mother of gawd is it ever going to stop raining?)

Got it into my head to experiment at some point with the eggshell ideas once a few extras of the African Violet "mouse ears" have grown big enough to separate. These leaves were started May 5th when my package of 6 plants arrived in the mail and needed to be repotted.
Not too surprisingly, babies appear to grow faster from a leaf under 12 hours of artificial light VS the 2 pots placed on the window sill above the sink facing north. Still nothing visible from those. Although there is also one pot of leaves from same date on the light shelf with still nothing happening ...hmmm.

During all of my searching using the word eggshell, I came up with a craft idea and decided to include my 8 year old nephew Kyle on Father's Day.

We made Eggheads!

I made one up ahead to give him an idea of what we were doing and he eagerly agreed to help, carefully drawing faces on 6 eggshells and then chose which plant hair-style to give them. He opted not to do the actual planting. (Baby-steps getting him away from Transformer obsession; a few minutes at a time!)

Note to self: washable markers NOT the best way to create lasting images on plant pots that get wet!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If you build it you can put stuff on it

My trusty Radio Flyer has seen better days

Jazz seems to know when an adventure is about to begin, especially when it means going down into the woods for a walk longer than a trip to the mailbox. She was beside herself to get started, but had to be bribed with several pieces of cookie for the fake photo shoot when we got back.

Jealous Steph? Here I am having an adventure without you, while you blog about those damn black dogs you play with now more than me. Whatever.

We headed to the far end of the field to collect rocks for my latest project, rusty wagon rattling all the way down over the bumpy trail. I've had an idea floating around in my head now for a while to build a display area in the corner of the deck out of rocks. Big ones.

I also got it in my head I wanted a Strawberry Planter. A lady on GardenWeb mentioned she found one at the Lowes in Southern Maine. My trip to the library yesterday did a really big swing so I could say the new Brewer Lowes was on the way. Sort of.

Okay not at all! But I wanted one.
While I was there I bought a few plants to put into it. I still want one of these smaller designed planters to put trailing African Violets in.
(Link included for the shopping ease of
family members who like pie :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A gift of Purple

Purple Passion Plant

Visiting the Hardware store across the street from where I get groceries a week ago I noticed the large purple passion plant in their window. I commented at the time how beautiful it was. It gets full afternoon sun and is a gorgeous shade of fuzzy purple in the bright light. Another plant of about the same size sits on their counter out of the sun, like a drab copy.
(Note to self - once it settles in, move back to sunny window)

This store is also a postal substation, where I take most of my fabric postcards to be hand canceled & mailed. The lady behind the counter knows me and always takes the time to admire the cards before sending them on their way. I asked her yesterday while there getting bird seed if she sells any of the plants. She took one out of the jar all rooted, wrapped it in a couple of paper towels and handed it to me for free :)

I'm very tickled, although it got a little wilted while grocery shopping. I hope it's recovering, as of this morning it's looking a little better. A quick search with the google to see how to care for it (since I've killed this one before) and I found this from a Canadian Greenhouse grower that made me laugh.

It seems he did a google search of his own when asked by a customer if he had heard of the plant. Apparently the blossoms of 50 or 60 plants in full volume are a little stinky according to his findings.
He concluded," I don't think I will be growing this anytime soon!"

I left him a comment...
Shame on you for judging a plant by it's google! ;)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

African Violets by name

Obsessive Tendencies

I have admitted before my obsessive nature towards the subject of the moment. I tend to eat, drink & breath a hobby or interest for as long as it lasts. All out and full speed ahead. I want to learn more. I want to find bloggers or forums with similar interests. I visit the library. I buy used books for my growing library of how-to.

(First new blooms on Happy Trails since starting over. It arrived by mail in May along with 5 other plants.)

A quick search of my blog using the word obsession surprised me how many times I've admitted the description of myself. Dating back to the very 1st entry!

My current project is replacing some of the named African Violets I used to grow on lighted plant stands. I committed all but 3 to the compost bins several years ago. Sounds less guilty than "she killed them all"? (Which is what I had to admit when Steph came home after being away for a year and wanted to know what happened to them all.)

I've rejoined active participation at Violet Voice. It moved from the MSN site and it's less active than I hoped. If you have an interest in growing better African Violets, check it out. Help liven things up a bit!

This old blog entry is actually full of wise advice. Most of which I neglected to follow in the end. I'm reminding myself daily the best advice I ignored of all: Grow only the number you have time to care for.
(I ordered 2 new plants and 3 leaves yesterday. 2 shelves is my limit. I swear! :)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Chickadee Tantrums

I spent the day outside!

(That was going to be half of a sentence, but I decided it expressed the happiness of my day quite well all on it's own.)

I spent the morning exploring the back corner of our property, looking for more plants for another terrarium or a dish garden for the deck. This is the terrarium I replanted on Sunday. Only a couple of trees were doing very well, so I took out everything else and started it over.

I also wanted to transplant Beech Trees to the little "grove" in our front yard. Beech Trees are one of my favorites and they're popping up all over the place on our 20+ acres. Except where I want them. Fingers crossed I got a big enough root ball.

I've been helping Tom all spring get next winter's wood up to the house for splitting. We're borrowing dad's ATV and trailer to get down into the woods where his truck would have a hard time going. This was one of my better ideas. Given that I'm the one that usually lugs the sawed up pieces to where the truck can get to. When I saw how far away I would be carrying the last section he cut, I decided it was time for a new plan! Tom is having a blast on the thing and is going to miss it when we give it back. I suspect he might be on the lookout for one of his own.

I had staked out a tiny "hackmatack" tree that I thought would be perfect for a dish garden, but when I went to dig it up, it had an extra foot long trunk growing under the moss. Not going to work! So I kept my eye out for another "perfect" miniature tree. Of course you never find one when you're looking for it.

I wandered to where I remembered a few cedar grow to look for small seedlings. I found three! I never see small cedar trees around here. I think the deer eat them as fast as they get started. Tough luck guys: I raided YOUR garden for a change :)

In the afternoon I cleared out one of my gardens that had grown over badly with weeds. There are several bird house boxes hanging out there and I suspect one may have been home to a family of Chickadees recently. This little guy put up quite a fuss when I started sawing limbs off the trees hanging low over the lawn. I've been mowing this section all spring while Tom hauls wood, and some of the branches just about took my head off trying to go under to mow.

Was afraid I must have sawed off a limb with a nest in it by accident, judging by the fuss this Chickadee was making. Decided he was too small to be a mom. He was one noisy juvenile delinquent I can tell you! Pretty sure his mom came over to see what all the fuss was about when I noticed this much larger chickadee on a branch above.

About the Hacmatkack tree. I swear that was what we called it when I was growing up. There was one growing on Mom & Dad's front lawn and you NEVER park under it because sticky stuff drops off it constantly. I decided to google it to see if it was a real name.
Also called Larch Tamarack
One site said Hackmatack was also called Balsam Poplar.

No sir! Two different trees entirely.