Tag Archives: spring

Bloomin’ Rhubarb

If you grow rhubarb, this is a familiar, exciting sight this time of year.

Last year, I put in a few new rhubarb plants. They were rather inexpensive and I thought I could fill in ye olde rhubarb patch a bit. Then, this happened.

The variety I bought is an old-fashioned rhubarb variety known for bolting. I would not have bought it if I had realized this at the time, but it was an impulse buy. Bolting occurs when the plant sends up a flower stalk in an attempt to produce seed. Bolting reduces the amount of energy the plant has to put into leaf growth. We eat the delicious leaf stalks of rhubarb, so bolting reduces the harvest and is an undesirable trait. More modern rhubarb varieties have had the tendency to bolt bred out of them. I am reminded of modern commercial turkeys who can’t reproduce without human intervention, but I want more delicious rhubarb so I prefer the modern varieties too.

The flower is a little alarming and it looks something like pink cauliflower. The gardener can simply chop off the flower stalk, and the rhubarb should return its attention to growing leaves. It would be preferable to chop it off before it gets this big, but we were busy.

Now that the flowers are gone, hopefully our new rhubarb plants will go back to making pie fillings. I’m not sure if I’m willing to tolerate this behavior, or if I should dig them up and plant a different variety.

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I’m going to Disneyland!

Levi & I are starting to prepare for what I have dubbed “Mommy & Me Spring Break 2012.” We have traveled a bit, but we have never done a trip, just the two of us. Jess isn’t a big fan of roller coasters or Disney, so she is sitting this one out. I am so excited, we are going to Disneyland!

Our last visit was 10 years ago, and a lot has changed. I hear they have apps to check the waits for different rides. We need your help! What else has changed? We will be there for 3 solid days with a pass for both parks and already have airfare and a hotel adjacent to the park. So tell us… what cannot be missed? What should we take? How can we keep our cell phones from getting soaked? Where can we get decent vegetarian food? I’m hoping healthy food options have improved a little since our last visit.

Comment with lots of advice, please!

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Filed under family, travel

project, interrupted

Sorry for the abrupt end to the daily chicken photos. The other day, while I was uploading the daily shots of the little ladies my computer abruptly crashed. I had day 12 photos of:


Pepper


Cry-Baby


and Ramona


I really love this shot of Ramona’s wing.

I really HATE having a project interrupted. The daily momentum keeps me going, which is why a lot of our projects are daily ones ($5/person/day and 31 recipes in 31 days). And sure, I could have kept on photographing until I had my computer situation worked out, but I was pretty upset and could only focus on trying to save the year’s worth of photos I had never backed up (which included half of our spring break trip photos and all the videos I hadn’t uploaded anywhere at all).

Long story short, my hard drive and photos and a lot of of other documents are gone. Trying to focus on the positive:

– I replaced the hard drive myself and fixed my laptop for only $80
– I’m trying out Ubuntu and freeing myself of Windows for awhile
– Jess and I both got new Android phones (matching G2X’s) and are crazy about them
– I think the chicks’ development has slowed enough that it is time to do photos 2-3 times a week anyway

And most importantly, little Hatchet-Face is still alive. You needed a Hatchy update, right?

Yesterday while we visited our next door neighbors and their new, full grown hens, I had pretty much given up on Hatchet-Face. She has been a lot more lively looking, but just didn’t seem to be feeding herself much. We can’t force feed her forever, so I was starting to think we were just prolonging the inevitable.

And then we went home and I went to force feed her some cooked egg yolk. And then something amazing happened. She started to scarf it down on her own. She has shown so little interest in food lately, that was incredible. And then she was in the brooder, fighting with her sisters over a worm, chasing them and running away from them with gusto. She has gained some weight, but not as much as the rest of them. I’m hoping at this point that she is a bantam (miniature), and she had some kind of bug but will recover.

Pepper and little Hatchet-Face.

Stay tuned for their TWO WEEK OLD photos and their first field trip to the great outdoors!

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Hello from Olympia

I remind myself of Dolly’s words of wisdom, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” We’ve put up with the rain. March came in like a lion, and seems hellbent on going out like a wet house cat. I’ve heard that this month was breaking precipitation records, but I haven’t fact checked that. It seems possible.

This is not the best forecast for the bees. Things are starting to bloom, but wet bees can’t do much work. My kale is getting ready to go, and bees love kale flowers. I hope they get to enjoy them.

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the mason sleeps real good

The other night, we caught some mason bees resting with their little butts hanging out, pollen sprinkled all across the porch like they had a raging party and then passed out. I don’t know what was actually happening since I don’t understand mason bee-havior very well, but it was adorable.

Our mason bees are nearing the end of their season. They are rarely seen after June around here, so we have a few more weeks with these darling insects. The mason bees have been far more interesting than I expected. We got them for curiosity’s sake and a sense of obligation to our native pollinators, and maybe a little bit for the love of our fruit trees. But watching them come and go, filling their little tunnels with mud and buzzing around in their beautiful shiny blue-blackness, I have really fallen for their single-minded industrious charm.

They’ve filled in twelve of the holes now. Yesterday there were only 10, so they are really picking up the pace. Every evening, Levi hustles out to the patio to check on the bees and report back, “I think it’s eleven now… no, twelve!”

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whoa, pollen!

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Dispatches from Olympia

Forget April Showers. We are specializing in HAIL this year. Being pelted by hail for the last three days has had a very strange affect on me. I feel like I am constantly at risk of attack from above! The trade-off has been some ethereal sunrises.

I am trying to convince Krista that we should turn one of the trees in our front yard into a snag because snags are an important part of forest ecology, and technically our yard would be a forest if, you know, they didn’t build a town here. While I could make the case that urban snags are ecologically critical, and I would be right, I really think that a deliberate snag in our yard would be an amazing architectural form. Krista is not terribly resistant to this plan, and I think that 1 or 2 visits to deliberate urban snags around town would convince her. I mean, snags are like the new garden gnome, right? They should be. Here’s an example of one I spotted on a garden tour of Olympia in a recent naturescaping class (for my Master Gardener training).

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Filed under home, spring