Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Equinox whooshing past...

Sleepwalking into the new season:
I don't think anyone even mentioned that it was the equinox. Nobody said, "Happy First Day of Fall!" That seems sad and just plain wrong. Another small danger beacon flashing, a warning that humans in the wealthy industrialized nations are rapidly losing their connections to the planet.

Equinox. I have to look up the images every time, to picture what is happening--distressing since I took a year of astronomy as a freshman. I can picture the cover of the textbook. And remember thinking it was amazing. It has to do with the earth being tilted on its axis, then rotating in a long orbit around the sun right? [Add photo] So we have two days a year when it beats directly on the equator. Equal day and night. And with it, the start of a new season: longer days in for South America and Australia and most of Africa, shorter ones for Iceland and North America, Europe, Russia, Asia. [What is the distribution of folk living above and below the equator? Are we "top-heavy"?]

Equal day and night: I didn't feel very balanced. But I continue feeling intoxicated by the weather, and by all the drama just outside our front door.

The list of observations/ developments/ adventures
over the last 10 is as long as ever...

Weeds - suddenly, everywhere I look the ground is covered with an unseasonable spring green haze: the wild mustard is making a break for it. [Not pictured. I can't bear to record the onslaught...]

Praying Mantises
- At Linda and Teresa's the other night, they spotted a female praying mantis locked in mortal combat with a hefty, olive-brown grasshopper. Yeesh. Godzilla vs. King Kong in slow motion and in miniature. Hard to know who to cheer for... Eventually, Ms Mantis was able to bite through a chink in Mr. Grasshopper's neck armor. It was pretty grisly. We were hungry, so we stopped watching and retreated back into the house. [Is that ironic? Her attempt at a meal made me squeamish, mine seemed "normal"? Another reminder re. why I have been a vegetarian for so many years.]
Re. our Mating Pair, we have been keeping an eye out, hoping to spot the egg case. We found several videos on YouTube, of egg cases and the youngsters hatching. Amazing. [Find links and post them]. I'm not sure we pursued the topic thoroughly enough to find out roughly how long the interval might be between insemination/ fertilization and egg-laying, or between egg-laying and hatching, or what kinds of plants they prefer for depositing the egg case.

Ristra - G made a cute little ristra out of her red chilis. Very handsome. (Hey, that looks like the real thing!)

The uranium enriched sweet potato: we cut and ate it in a curry Friday night. It was 'like the real thing' too! grin. What else is under there?! The literature says to wait until after the first frost kills the vines. (We are sitting on our hands, I'll tell you that.) Gloria is already talking about trying some white potatoes next year.

Planting Bulbs:
Our big effort this past weekend was planting daffodils and small irises Sunday afternoon. G bought a big bag of each at the budget box store... so 80 irises, 90 daffies. Planted all the irises, and 2/3rds of the daffies. "There's a lot of hope out there..."

Gloria's fall bed: She thinks these are broccoli and cauliflower babies. I laid down on the ground next to them to take their picture. There are so many different vantage points in this life, aren't there?

Raised bed: Sunday afternoon G chopped out the yellow pear plant. It was looking wilty. Hard to believe that the entire bed was completely buried by just 2 plants! The Mexican midget variety (little cherry reds) still left takes up 2/3rd by itself. On the whole, we have felt overwhelmed by our tomato friends this season. But, note to self, they are less intimidating if given plenty of room. We had a couple of volunteers from my blue tub urban tomatoes of last season. They came along 6 weeks later than TJohansen's 'hothouse' wonders. We stuck these mystery plants in the ground near the west wall and more or less ignored them. They ended up being a weird yellow pear/ cherry mix--waxy yellow and round, and very tasty. Another note to self: none of our cages were big or sturdy enough. I put stakes and rope in this weekend, to help these guys stand back up. [One last photo--the coxcomb--is something of a non sequitur. Just didn't know where to put it this week. But couldn't leave it out. We continue to gape at it... it is such a strange, lush, exotic being--we'll give it 'the last word...']

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