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My name is Chris, and I am a plantaholic

With first the photo gallery going down, then the entire website, then our computer’s hard drive, I’ve not really been keeping updated here about this year’s garden. It may have, uh, gotten a bit out of hand.

Here’s what we added this year:

  • 4 tomato plants (Mr. Stripey, Brandwine, and Cherokee Purple heirlooms plus a grape)
  • 9 pepper plants (Poblano, Anaheim, yellow and green bells, Mariachi, Fish, and Jalapeno)
  • 3 basil plants
  • 1 sage
  • 3 nasturtiums
  • 3 dill (plus a few ‘volunteers’ that popped up from last year’s seed)
  • 1 marjoram
  • a patch of cilantro ‘volunteers’ that also popped up unexpectedly
  • 2 thyme plants (lemon and English)
  • 2 callibrachoa flowers
  • 1 fern-leaf/Spanish lavender
  • 4 okra
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 Shasta daisies
  • 2 cullantro
  • 21 coleus
  • 2 calladiums
  • 3 roses
  • 1 bee balm
  • 2 columbines
  • 12 allyssums (from clearance rack of doom at Lowe’s)
  • 1 calendula
  • 1 lemon verbena
  • 1 red-veined sorrel
  • 1 Iris that smells like grape bubble gum
  • 2 elderberry bushes
  • 1 cranberry plant (was kind of a mistake, but should be interesting)
  • Five pie pumpkin seedlings (unplanned, from Joy’s mom today)
  • 2 marigolds and an unidentified daisy-ish plant in a new window box
  • a patch of unidentified plants plus seeds of same that are silvery with magenta flowers (the plants from Joy’s mom, the seeds Joy gathered last year while on a walk in Waynesville)
  • A few pieces of a fleshy looking plant with magenta flowers from Joy’s mom, (some sort of sedum we think)
  • a pot of flower seeds that were embedded in my birthday card from Joy last year!

This is all in addition to the things we planted last year that made it through the winter:

  • 1 rosemary bush
  • 1 marjoram
  • 1 pyrethrum
  • 1 anise hyssop
  • 1 mint
  • 2 ginormous catnip plants
  • 2 echinaceas
  • 1 stargazer lilly
  • 3 sedums
  • 2 parsleys
  • 3 mini roses (plus the two wild ones that were already here)
  • 1 clematis
  • 2 blueberry bushes
  • 2 lavenders
  • 3 coreopsis
  • 1 creeping thyme
  • 3 pathetic little variegated purple ornamental peppers (still seedling sized after two years)
  • 2 elephant ears

We did have a few failures. 2 jasmines, 1 coreopsis, (these, along with the clematis were clearance sale items at the end of last year) the sage, and the curry plant from last year didn’t make it through the winter. None of the seedlings I started indoors this year made it. I planted chamomile, sunflowers and a bag of wildflowers that never germinated. The chard is still tiny, stunted and yellow, I assume because it’s in the backyard bed under the black walnut and is getting juglone poisoning. We had two pepper plants that got mysteriously chopped off at their bases (every time I bought a replacement I came home with extras, which is why our original 5 became 9 even after two losses) and the slugs have been hell on the callibrachoa and some peppers. We’ve been putting out saucers of beer and got over thirty slugs the first night, which has cut down their predations significantly.

I think we got a bit out of hand somehow 🙂 Everything is thriving so far and the front yard vegetable garden is really looking awesome. We’d just better hope that we keep getting regular rain…

Another disturbing study on effects of GMO

Right after I fixed the blog, our hard drive crashed again, and I spent most of last weekend reloading Windows on a new drive and trying to get everything back up and running the way it had been. There’s still a few things missing but the important stuff is there, and we didn’t lose any data.

I heard about the story I am posting here on one of my podcasts, and did some Googling this morning trying to find the original source. I suppose if all the oddball podcasts I listen to hasn’t  already put me on some government watch list, linking to a Russian news site probably will…

Russia says genetically modified foods are harmful

16.04.2010, 17:26

Russia has started the annual Days of Defence against Environmental Hazards from the 15th of April to the 5th of June with the announcement of sensational results of an independent work of research. Scientists have proved that Genetically Modified Organisms are harmful for mammals. The researchers discovered that animals that eat GM foodstuffs lose their ability to reproduce. Campbell hamsters that have a fast reproduction rate were fed for two years with ordinary soya beans, which are widely used in agriculture and those contain different percentages of GM organisms. Another group of hamsters, the control group, was fed with pure soya, which was found with great difficulty in Serbia because 95 percent of soya in the world is transgenic.

Concerning the experiment carried out jointly by the National Association for Gene Security and the Institute of Ecological and Evolutional Problems, Dr. Alexei Surov has this to say. “We selected several groups of hamsters, kept them in pairs in cells and gave them ordinary food as always,” says Alexei Surov. “We did not add anything for one group but the other was fed with soya that contained no GM components, while the third group with some content of Genetically Modified Organisms and the fourth one with increased amount of GMO. We monitored their behavior and how they gain weight and when they give birth to their cubs. Originally, everything went smoothly. However, we noticed quite a serious effect when we selected new pairs from their cubs and continued to feed them as before. These pairs’ growth rate was slower and reached their sexual maturity slowly. When we got some of their cubs we formed the new pairs of the third generation. We failed to get cubs from these pairs, which were fed with GM foodstuffs. It was proved that these pairs lost their ability to give birth to their cubs,” Dr. Alexei Surov said.

Another surprise was discovered by scientists in hamsters of the third generation. Hair grew in the mouth of the animals that took part in the experiment. It’s unclear why this happened. The researchers cannot understand why a programme of destruction is launched when animals take GMO foodstuffs. They say that this can be neutralized only by stopping to eat these foods. Consequently, scientists suggest imposing a ban on the use of GM foods until they are tested for their bio-security. The results of Russian scientists coincide with those of their colleagues from France and Austria. For one, when scientist proved that GM maize was harmful for mammals, France banned immediately its production and sale. The scientists who carried out the experiment say that it’s too early to make far-reaching conclusions about the health hazards of the GMO. They insist that there is a need to carry out comprehensive research. They suggest implementing the project, “Safety Gene Technology” at the innovation centre, “Skolkovo” which is being set up near Moscow.

Goats, goats, and more goats… and some chickens and a neat old house


Yesterday we had some friends visit from Canada. Anne and pat gave me my very first job when I was sixteen, helping renovate their house, and I’ve kept in touch with them all of these years since then. It was great getting to see them again, and we all went to the Carl Sandburg House down in Flat Rock. We enjoyed the tour and seeing the house and grounds, but had particular fun with the goats.

I wanted a close-up of a goat, and while I was hunkered down focusing, suddenly got even more of a close up than I had anticipated with another goat that came over to see what I was doing.

I love the architecture of this bay window!
Mr. Rooster gives us the hairy eyeball.

There are 40 more pictures in the album I uploaded, including more of the grounds, the house, and of course, the goats. 🙂

Holy Sh** – I fixed it! And I am not even sure how :-)

Woo Hoo!

The WPG2 plugin has been restored so that the blog is back to it’s happy self. I haven’t had a lot of time to work on this, but it’s been nagging at me and making me crazy. I had posted on the WPG2 forum to no avail, and was going to contact my webhost and see if they had a fix. While I was driving yesterday, it occurred to me to try one last time to delete and replace the files themselves. I had done this before and it didn’t fix it, but this time it did. I don’t even care that I don’t know how I fixed it, I’m just glad it’s working.

The problem is that WPG2 has been orphaned and is no longer being developed. I assume that at some point, a few upgrades down the road, I am going to have this problem again if WordPress or Gallery2 significantly change their code. Gallery3 is out there on the horizon, and while currently there doesn’t appear to be support for embedding in WordPress, maybe that will be added later. Or maybe someone else will pick up WPG2 and continue on with it.

Happy Friday!

Shasta daisy

Shasta daisy

I still haven’t gotten the WPG2 issue resolved, but the blog looks so stark without all the pics I decided to add a couple the old fashioned way.  Above is one of our two shasta daisies in the front yard.

Window box

Window box

I also put a window box in the front bedroom window, with some marigolds and a really pretty flower that I don’t know the name of.

Purple Cherokee tomato flower

Purple Cherokee tomato flower

I’ve never seen flowers like this on a tomato plant? I’m also a bit concerned that the tomatoes are all about a foot or so tall and already flowering. But at least they seem healthy so far.