Happy birthday, blog!

blogiversary!

Allegraphy is 1 year old today!

In my very first post I listed a few things I wanted to accomplish in 2012, and mostly didn’t.  So much for my follow-through (see flibbertigibbet)…

This year, instead of listing things I want to accomplish, I thought I’d try to list things that are less finite:

Goal #1Be healthy.  Make healthy food and lifestyle choices.  Eliminate soda, hfcs, milk products (mostly), and meat.  And, if I fall off the wagon, the world won’t end; just adjust and re-focus.

Goal #2Be creative.  Write, paint, draw, play piano…etc.  Do something each day even if it is small and most definitely if it is silly.

Goal #3Tune out.  Computers and phones and tvs can be turned off without panic; none of it is that important.  Read, knit, stare out the window…

Goal #4Dig in the dirt.  The garden plans are already underway.  Plus, it will aid all previous goals.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Notes

1.  First book on the agendaTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

2.  Coke.  It is almost 1:30 and I will happily pinch anyone.  Tea is not going to make this withdrawl easier…

Hodge Podge Monday

It’s a Hodge-Podge Monday.

1.  Northanger Abbey.  Still reading…

2.  Dr. Who.  Ok, I feel like I am the only person on the planet who has never seen Dr. Who.  Happily I can now watch it on Amazon Prime!  Did I know what it was?  Yes.  I’m watching Season 5 now (2010) and I’m not quite sure I like this version of the Doctor.  I really adored David Tennant.  Maybe Matt Smith will grow on me?  Please say yes.

3.  Fail Notes.  There comes a time during every class when I have to send notes to students about the mathematical impossibility of them passing my course.  I hate to do it.  Although I want my students to succeed, some feel that it is my fault when they do not pass the course for lack of work, lack of discourse, lack of attendance, or refusal to ask for help.  I sent quite a depressing number of these out this morning.

4.  Garden of the Damned.  This summer has been exceedingly difficult.  Even with watering, my plants didn’t really start to flower until the rains began at the end of July.  It was depressing.

Now, my tomato plants can hardly stand up for the weight of the fruit.  The fruit on my Cherokee Purples (not pictured) have started turning red but they are also suffering from wilt…so that will be a race to see if I get tomatoes before the plant dies.  However for these two varieties, I think they will turn red soon.  Yay, tomatoes!

My three squash plants exploded and then started blooming during the last week of August.  I think I am going to trim them back to concentrate on a few squash.  It is likely that I will have to put these under a makeshift greenhouse if I want the pumpkins.  We usually get our first freeze in late September or early October; however, this year has been very odd and so I don’t know if that will hold true.

My first sunflower opened on September 2.  Only two of my plants sprouted from seed.  I thought these were supposed to be taller, but they are about 4′ right now.  They are very lovely and have several blooms on one stalk–this is the first bud to bloom.

I don’t know what will come of the weather this year.  August has been miserable and humid–I have to keep on the air in the house because it is so continuously damp outside.  Normally, I stop mowing the yard in mid-July due to the blazing heat and then return to mow two or three times between September and October to mulch out the leaves.  This year I stopped mowing in May but have been mowing twice a week in August just to keep the grass at a level that doesn’t clog the mower; there aren’t too many hours in the day where the yard is relatively dry (from the humidity and night condensation).  Even the county mowing crews are having issues with their giant industrial mowers because of the thick wet grass!

So, what that means for the garden?  Your guess is as good as mine.

5.  Writing.  I have been re-outlining my plot and squiddling around on Scrivener.  Everything is so easy in this program:  all I have to do is slide a notecard to a different spot on the pinboard.  No fuss.

6.  LYS.  My local yarn store is closing on the 15th.  I got a Zauberball hank last week, but I think I’ll go grab a few more DPNs for socks before the end.  It was nice to have a reliable place to go talk to someone who knew what they were doing and could help you when you found yourself confused by a pattern.  I will miss them.

Well, I must dash.  Linus, my eclectus, is smooching at me to uncover his cage.

I want more!

I have no idea what kind of butterfly bush I bought…it wasn’t labeled.  But it was 60% off and I got three.  They are absolutely some of the darkest purple flowers I have ever seen in a plant and the smell is divine.  I watched them last night and I swear every bee and butterfly within a mile stopped by until the last dregs of light were fading from the evening!

These are the ones I could catch this morning.  We’ve got a really breezy day and my camera–while fairly good at catching a still shot–was no match for it.  I ended up with a lot of blurred pictures.

I hope these plants do well.  If they do, I think I will get a few more next year.

White lavender…who knew?

Perhaps I am a bit thick.  I’ve never considered that lavender came in any color but purple!  Technically, “Jean Davis” is a pale pink…but up close mine is mostly white.  Although it does look quite lovely next to my pink speedwell.

I needed a second English lavender plant because one of mine died.  To be honest, I was quite surprised that my second one sprouted at all!  It is still frail and wispy, but I didn’t have the heart to yank it up when it smelled so awesome and had a few blooms beginning to pop out.

I think I am going to give it a few doses of fertilizer and hope it likes the new lavender and speedwell as bedmates.  We’ll see how it is at the end of the summer…

Peonies!

I absolutely adore peonies–they are so beautiful.  I would have them everywhere if it weren’t for the ants.  That was the one thing my mother impressed on me about peonies:  plant them away from the house because of the ants.

Here are the two bushes of white peonies I currently have:

And here are two gorgeous red peonies I just bought:

I don’t think they’ll bloom this year, but they will be stunning next spring.  I am very excited!

Ok.  I am off to plant some salvia and speedwell.  But to tide you over…have a bearded iris:

Gardening Geeks Unite!

Ok.  I’m not a spectacular gardener by any stretch of the imagination, but there are people who are–and they often share what they know!  Your Garden Show is a social networking site for gardeners.  It is awesome with lots of very helpful information on gardening know-how!

They are running a contest this year called Grow it Forward.  Basically you keep tabs on your garden and make yourself all popular and you get to win cool prizes!  But behind the contest, the point is to gather data about growth rates and harvest times in different regions for all kinds of plants and veggies to help future gardeners.

There are also citizen science programs you can participate in to help gather data for researchers:  pollination, allergens, seasons.  I think I might try to do The Great Sunflower Project to help track bees this summer.  I always seem to have a lot of honeybees in the yard–even without a stellar garden.  There has to be something here they like…but I’ll give them Lemon Queen Sunflowers if that’s what the project calls for (there are a few other options as well).

So I’m going to see if I can do a better garden than last year–anything has to be better!  Join me and eat tons of good, fresh food.

Geez, Louise!

I can’t believe it is above 80 today!  And it is supposed to be in the mid to upper 70s until the end of next week.  Holy June, Batman!  Normally we are hovering in the low 40s–and NO ONE is mowing their lawn.

Apparently that is not the case this year.

I planted my tomatoes and peppers in their little peat cups this afternoon and left them outside to soak up the wonderful sun.  I also started some pumpkin seeds, but I don’t know if they will take to being “started” or if I just have to plant them in the ground.  I thought I’d test that out.

Sometimes I forget how warm the south side of my house is.  I started out in a long sleeve shirt and ended up in a tank top.  I swear the south side of my house could give lessons on being hot-as-hell.  It does, however, make a spectacular place to grow lavender.  [And ditch lillies, but they grow everywhere.]

I don’t have the urge to pull out the lawn mower quite yet, but we’ve had plenty of rain and humid weather and everything else is sprouting up fast.  It won’t be long–early April, I suspect–when I will have to suck it up like a good little buttercup and mow.

Tomorrow, I may tackle the garden and the burn pile.

Future yummies

Guess what came in the mail yesterday?  My Seed Savers Exchange catalog!  [I linked to the page where you can sign up for a mailed copy or you can download it with no need for snail mail.]  I’ve had my 2012 Baker Creek catalog for a few weeks.  Both stores are amazing places to find heirloom veggie seeds.

I drool over the pictures.  I imagine growing wide swaths of vegetables and having them appear on the table fully prepared.  The canning shelves stock themselves with gleaming jars of summer love.  No more shipped-in veggies at the grocery store.  Food abounds!  Imagination–everything is magic. 

I am trying to be practical and realistic in my planning.  These traits being antithetical to my nature, I find this an exercise in overcoming wild flights of fancy.  I’m an idea girl.  Once I gain an understanding of what is required and how it is accomplished, I’m over my obsession.  But, this garden is one obsession that I feel is important.  [And each garden is brand new so I can’t get bored or feel I’ve learned everything!]

I’ve still got seeds from my order last spring–things that I planted and others that wouldn’t sprout or I didn’t have room for.

  1. French Breakfast Radish
  2. Bull’s Blood Beet
  3. Rocky Top Lettuce Mix
  4. Crnkovic Yugoslavian Tomato (pink)
  5. Goldman’s Italian American Tomato (red)
  6. Ananas Noire Tomato (striped)
  7. Black From Tula Tomato (purple)
  8. Leutschauer Paprika (hot)
  9. Black Hungarian Pepper (hot)
  10. Quadrato D’Asti Rosso Pepper (sweet)
  11. Red Cheese Pepper (sweet)
  12. Eagle Pass Okra
  13. St. Valery Carrot
  14. Parisienne Carrot (an “extra” from Baker Creek)
  15. Delikatesse Cucumber
  16. Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean
  17. Rattlesnake Bean
  18. Purple Podded Pole Bean
  19. Mayflower Bean
  20. Musquee de Provence Squash (C. moschata)

There are still a few other veggies and varieties that I’d like to try and squeeze in as well…