Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread Beach Body and Christmas Protea

A unique seasonal bouquet arrived at our house today. It contained some flowers I don't think I've ever seen before, other than in pictures. Dusted with gold glitter, this arrangement appears to contain several protea flowers and some purplish foliage of unknown variety. I was impressed, for sure. I wonder where the protea came from, being a flower most associated with South Africa and a few other tropical locales. Some South African friends got me a package of protea seeds some time ago , though I haven't been bold enough to try and grow them (besides their apparent need for fire to aid germination). Anyhow, these are very cool flowers and I hope they open up to look even more spectacular.

I made a large batch of gingerbread cookies this last weekend, since I enjoy eating the soft and chewy type rather than the nearly-cardboard ones from the store. I made a few cookies that are beach-ready, including this beautiful lady:

We actually have very little snow for this time of year, though temperatures have been very cold this December and the lakes are well-frozen. People are driving trucks and snowmobiles all over the lakes now. RLM will have to haul his latest accumulation of stuff out to the cabin soon. I'm hoping will be NO MORE antler chandeliers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Compost Worms "Recycling"

Do worms eat your garbage? We find that we produce much less household garbage by recycling and composting, but recently, I tried a new paper product disposal method. I fed a Botanus catalog to my composting worms, who live in a plastic bin in our semi-heated garage. It seemed like a fitting completion of the garden cycle; from glossy catalog to fertile worm castings that will fertilize next year's flowers from the Botanus catalog. Dear resident lawnmower-man had concerns about the dyes hurting the worms (I didn't know he felt so fondly about them), but I reassured him that most printers are using vegetable-based dyes these days.
Vermicomposting bin, with perforated inner container inside a larger container that collects excess moisture as "compost tea":

October 19, 2009: Botanus catalog destined for worm box (staples were removed):

Worm box with catalog, which I buried about 5 cm below the surface:

December 7, 2009: I was planning to avoid adding more kitchen scraps to the bin during the experiment, but our houseguests had been using the box while we were away. This didn't seem to distract the worms from the catalog too much, and I am impressed that our houseguests got friendly with the compost worms!
Worm box, seven weeks later:

Remnants of catalog left as of December 7, 2009:

The remnants resembled a bit of wet paper towel. I'm sure there will be nothing left by New Years. I guess this goes to prove that the worms enjoy the garden catalogs too!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Back Home. They Didn't Compost Me Yet!

Thankyou to you all who left messages while I was away there for a bit. I'd have loved to have been on a vacation or something great, but that's not always how life goes. It seems that some people can have a gallbladder out and be back to life as usual, and the other 0.1% goes on to several more surgeries, the ICU, implantation with medical devices, and probably months more of recovery. At least I'm still here to tell about it and I got a few nice get-well flower arrangements and plants that I appreciated. Oh yes, and it was fortunate that I didn't leave a mid-summer garden neglected and unappreciated.

Here's an orchid I received from a friend. Anyone know its name? Maybe a Laelia or laeliocatteleya? I have no idea, since it does not resemble any of my current orchids. It has single leaves on its pseudobulbs and very fragrant flowers held in a loose spray above the leaves.

And alas it is the season for these lovely red beauties. Again, another friend brought this one to our house.

I hope you all are having a good week and are looking forward to spending time with family for the holidays! We need to put up some decorations soon.