mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
The snow iris are blooming and I am cutting back my pussytoes from the sidewalk. I am also quite sure that the western springbeauties (Claytonia rosea) are reproducing in my yard. They are one of the few early spring flowers from the Rockies and have to form a tuber before they can bloom. The fact that there are plants I am sure I did not place getting ready to boom means that last year there were new plants I did not spot. Also they are happy enough with the conditions I have created under my zombie elm to reproduce so... success.

The most I am willing to do is periodically dig up bulbs or plants to reduce crowding. Mostly plants should settle themselves into locations they find comfortable without my planning or direction. After all if I had a small robot arm I would not want to be individually directing all of them. They need to swarm the hero without waiting to for orders.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
I sometimes have to give in to a small temptation to do wrong to avoid a bigger one. The result of this is slowly fading on my right arm. I had a nice big scar from where I picked at a sore when infected with the chickenpox at about age 7 (maybe 8, the dates are fuzzy). I was told that I could not itch because I would get horrible scars, but if there is something uncomfortable with my body it is incredibly hard to for me to just ignore it. Too much of the ape body grooming genes or whatever. So, since this one spot was the first one I itched, I allowed myself to scratch just the one. So I got a fairly serious round scar there, but nowhere else. Organized surrender to temptation to avoid a total collapse. My point? None. There is nothing to learn here. I was just reminded of this since idiots not giving their children vaccines have put chickenpox in the news.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Early morning with the edges of the ground cover small-leaf pussytoes (Antennaria parvifolia).

Antennaria parvifolia - small-leaf pussytoes

In the dry climate of Colorado this plant is an excellent groundcover. If you live in Colorado I can frequently give starts of this plant.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason with the text, "No, I think I'm happier mocking you than helping." (Mocks You)
cute date idea: we go to a botanical garden. you point out a flower and i immediately eat it

As a botanist who works at a botanical garden, please don’t.

As a Horticulture Tech graduate who had a classmate that’d eat anything that our professor would point out in plant ID, I agree please seriously don’t

As a horticultural Tech graduate who ATE anything my professor would point out in plant ID class. PLEASE DON'T.

Veni-Vidi-Vinca (a.k.a. Mishalak)
*pointing out the innocent looking white bloom of Toxicoscordion venenosum* “Isn’t that beautiful,” while grinning one of those Grinch-y grins of a wonderfully awful idea.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
A project to put in a barrier cloth and gravel to contain a lilac next to herb garden.A project to put in a barrier cloth and gravel under a sidewalk slab to contain a lilac.
A project to put in a barrier cloth and gravel to contain a lilac with decorative brick top.

This is an experiment. I am trying to keep a very nice lilac bush from growing into my herb garden. I saw a recommendation to dig a trench, line it with barrier cloth, and then fill it with gravel. Roots encountering the barrier should grow down instead of across. It will take a couple years to evaluate this system, but it seems like it should work.

To be a bit more precise my trench is about 12cm/5in across and 20cm/8in deep. The barrier cloth is run longways in the trench and folded back on itself rather than cut down to fit the trench. The top is folded toward the plants to direct their roots down along the side. Bricks, being about 20cm/8in long cover the top almost completely except on curves. Knowing that UV light will break down the barrier cloth I put some leaves and sticks up against the bricks to keep some of the light off those edges.

When putting in the gravel I added in stages so that dirt could be added outside where I accidentally made the trench too wide. The extra bricks are to add places to step. The brick “knots” visible to the right in some pictures are also places to walk in the herb garden when weeding or picking plants.

The finished decorative brick top on the project to put in a barrier cloth and gravel to contain a lilac.

The bricks are on top of the soil, rather than dug in, because this way there is room for leaves and sticks to form a mulch/compost layer about 6cm/2.5cm deep. Where the bricks needed to be angled or where it went through the fence the roll is topped with more gravel to protect the top of the roll.

Personally I think it looks better with curves rather than trying to make it perfectly straight. Also being practical that I cannot make bricks run in a straight line. All my garden paths look a bit “rustic”.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)

Short grass prairie garden in 2018 during June

(Do let me know if the image is too big or breaks things. I am just getting back into posting on Dreamwidth since Tumblr became too stupid to use. I shall eventually move this post to a date of 2018 when I took it. There is going to be a lot of back posting things here as I rejigger stuff from my Tumblr at http://veni-vidi-vinca.tumblr.com/ to this blog thingy.)

At the request of a great many people (one) I shall be showing off pictures and explaining my villainous theory of gardening. One of the qualities of a villain is having a huge burst of enthusiasm for a project and eventually tapering off to laziness and/or boredom. Semi-natural plantings are perfect for this since once established they do a lot of caring for themselves. In my shortgrass prairie garden, for example, the buffalo grass stays under about 10 cm of height so it requires no mowing, hurah! It does only look that perfect green in the spring and fades a bit even with adequate summer moisture, but it needs much less than grasses from climates wetter than Colorado's front range. If I were trying for a planting like this much east of Kansas City this probably would not work for a lazy gardener unless the soil drained much more freely than even the sandy loam in my bit of earth.

The very impressive flowers are shell leaf penstemons (Penstemon grandiflorus). They are native to only the far eastern bits of Colorado, but they do well with no more care than moving the few that seed themselves in inconvenient locations. Like many penstemons they are short lived, but reseed themselves very freely and will come up through the buffalo grass to an adequate degree.

mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
When I went for a walk today I scattered wildflower seeds on a recently turned up bit of ground. Penstemon, wild rose, dwarf rabbit brush, false goldenaster, Rocky Mountain beeplant, purple tansyaster, and smooth white aster. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If I worked and lived in a perfect world with perfect ability to get stuff done I might have put the seeds into little balls of soil before scattering. Still, better planted than getting old in my large stock of seeds. Good luck to them. I am still on the look out for some spots to plant some desert scrub oak (Quercus turbinella) and red hesperaloe (Hesperaloe parviflora).

I have also noted a spot near the sign for my neighborhood that is mostly growing weeds. I think I will try planting some buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) there. My garden supply is relatively abundant and I can spare five or so pieces and a little weeding time. The rest of my starts will be going to my back yard to start a new prairie lawn since my front yard is nearly finished. I had different plans for a more formal garden, but I think I do not have enough enthusiasm to do laid out beds and everything needed for that. Instead I want to just get it under control, most of the weeds dead, and start planting grass at one edge. More of what I have already had success with instead of trying to do something totally different. Though I may start planting some cultivated plants with the grass instead of only letting wildflowers grow as I do in my front yard. Or perhaps the reverse. Create another pure wildflower display and break the theme of my front yard to being xeric instead of native to my region only.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
The Disney version of The Sword in the Stone really is a children's movie. The the sense that it is an adequate work with cute moments, good art, fun songs, and no real plot. It is a series of scenes only barely held together and an ending that is abrupt and not particularly satisfying now that I am an adult. It is not bad, but it is sort of a "cut every corner" this thing is only for kids sort of product. Still, the song about packing and the other one about being evil are quite fun. I mildly would like to add them to my music collection.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
A great non-expert book about the natural history, history, and current state of bees. It mostly focuses on all the other bees. The ones other than the honeybee that do most of the world's pollinating, but get much less attention. Realistic in the assessment of what is wrong and what is being done to figure it out or fix the problems. A good read.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Okay. So I saw the Starz American Gods TV series on DVD over at the library and I have given it a try. The musical choices are mostly pretty good and interesting. The show.. It is not bad. It just is not as interesting as it should be. It is about half a very interesting and atmospheric show and half what wants to be entrancing and feels more like filler to me. Long stretches of dialogue that go around and around on the same point without being as profound as they want to be. Then there are long slow lyrical scenes that are just achingly beautiful.

On the whole I think I overpaid very slightly by getting it for free. Not hugely, but it is a hot, beautiful mess rather than must see TV. If the second season comes out on DVD I won't be impatiently waiting for it.

My most specific criticism: Watching a guy repeatedly deny what is going on is dead boring when the whole point of the show is "gods". And he does it for most of the first 7/8 episodes.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
Welp, the theme for Karval Kon this year is Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Why? Because it is the 42nd convention. I have, of course, gotten the HHGG movie soundtrack, but what other music should I put in a playlist for the convention?
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
And the New Horizons spacecraft did not die. Indeed it kept its promise to the New Year and was as good an explorer, as good a robot, as any ever built.

New Horizons at NASA
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
January Hymn by The Decemberists (YouTube link)

On a winter Sunday I go
To clear away the snow
And green the ground below

April all an ocean away
Is this the better way to spend the day?
Keeping the winter at bay

What were the words I meant to say before you left?
When I could see your breath lead where you were going to

Maybe I should just "let it be"
And maybe it will all come back to me
Sing oh January oh!

How I lived a childhood in snow
And all my teens in tow
Stuffed in strata of glow

Hail the winter days after dark
Wandering the gray memorial park
A fleeting beating of hearts

What were the words I meant to say before she left?
When I could see her breath lead where she was going to

Maybe I should just "let it be"
And maybe it will all come back to me
Sing oh Janu...
Oh January oh
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
This animated film is worth watching if you can stand to watch a film in French with English subtitles. If I had to watch the dubbed version I would have quit 10 minutes in because I did not like the English voice acting. The plot is completely ridiculous steampunk alternate history nonsense, but it is pretty with enjoyable moments.
mishalak: Mishalak in a top hat with a holly sprig and the words, "Merry Yuletide" (Merry Yuletide)
I just heard Perry Como singing "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays" and I heard the line "From Pennsylvania, folks are travelin'
Down to Dixie's sunny shore" as "From Transylvania" and now I am imagining a movie where a vampire is going home to Georgia for Christmas. I am imagining it as a mostly lighthearted comedy of manners roadtrip for the first third, then family stuff, and true love in a very goth/gay way. Big Addams Family finish. What do you think?
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
It would probably have been good for me to get used to living with other people. It is a useful skill. As it is I have lived by myself for almost half my life now and have become very odd and slovenly as a result. It is just too darn easy to leave problems to sit if there is no one else to complain or silently judge about them. It is very nice to live in a clean house with nothing cluttering the floor, but that also requires either an attention span longer than than it takes a muon to decay or actual effort.

It is very easy to get used to doing anything you want whenever you want. Playing music loud enough to rattle your soul? No one on the other side of a wall to mind, so why not? Awake in the middle of the night? Put on a podcast without worry that you might wake other sleepers. Want to alter the layout of the garden paths and kill everything in your way? The committee of one approves the plan and authorizes work to proceed without delay. I am the dictator of my patch of earth and answerable to no one! Muhahahahahah!

People with roommates or partners might be less lonely, but by gosh it is very easy to live as solitary as a puma.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)

A two year old silver lupin plant holding water droplets in the middle of its leaves during a spring rain.

2018 on April 27th. This is a silvery lupin (Lupinus argenteus) a common western plant. I have had mixed success with them in my yard so far. I have transplanted a few, but mostly they do not care for such treatment. I have also gathered seeds and had some come up, but many of them have not survived beyond their first season. This one was two years old in 2018 and living with the previous year's spent plant stalks and leaves. I call this technique composting in place. Instead of trying to make a perfectly neat yard by hauling stuff away I just let it break down where it falls. This is not because I am a lazy villain, but because it creates a natural healthy soil.


I can identify old elm leaves and black-eyed-susan seed heads in the browns. The living plants around the palmate leaves of the lupin are some nice green and fuzzy black-eyed-susan leaves and the slightly toothed oblanceolate leaves of smooth white aster.

mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
From about 1999 until 2014 I was a member of DASFA. With three years to look back on I am overall happy that I left.

Making any group work can be like pushing a rope uphill. The trouble with special interests groups (as opposed to groups like old line churches or rotary clubs with a more general membership) is that they often attract extreme personalities. A club for rose lovers is a grand idea, but the people who are going to be members are probably people who have the fewest other social outlets, want to use the club as a way to promote their rose business, have the loudest opinions, and the like. A person who has a couple roses and knows quite a bit about them is not going to show up to meetings. Even the otherwise well rounded and stable rose fancier is likely to drop out because hanging with the users and the extremists is not going to be fun.

So it is with science fiction/fantasy clubs. In the modern era due to competition from online resources, the lack of inexpensive meeting space, and lack of free time on the part of potential members they are much more in danger of dying out. New members are turned off by the old guard who are 50% people who have no other social outlet because they are such assholes that no other group will take. There are definitely some good people who I like on an individual basis in the club and who I see at other events, others who I like well enough but we do not have much to socialize over, and then a small group of people I cannot stand.

Yes, I would liked to have been a member of an ongoing club. The thing is that to make that happen I would have needed to be a bad guy who either worked with reforming behavior or threw out troublesome members. That was not what I wanted to do and I think even the members I like would not have gone along with or supported that kind of plan. I think it is healthier for me to not be a member of a somewhat more general group of secular/agnostics/atheists/humanists. There are still people I do not get along with, but there is a general enough attraction to the group that I can make plenty of friends.
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)
The seeds are up. Less than 20% of them, but considering that they are eight years old that is not so bad. The first ones were showing at 5 days and it seems probable that all the ones that were going to sprout have now sprouted. So far there does not seem to be a difference between the ones planted in Miracle-Grow seed-starting potting mix and those in Miracle-Grow organic choice potting mix.

Because there were at least 36 seeds in each pot there are plenty of seedlings. One pot was a total failure and has more planted in it as of yesterday and another pot has seven. There is still some of the seed left and I will plant it again next year to see if about the same number of seeds are viable or if there is a continued decline.


mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Default)

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