Marty’s Poinsettia

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This may be the oldest Poinsettia you’ve ever seen.  It’s 11 years old.  Marty Karch was my manager for almost ten years.  As his retirement neared, he bought a small countdown clock.  Every day, in his office, it quietly ticked away the hours, days, and months to his retirement.  The Christmas before he retired, he bought a small personal Poinsettia (the original container is on top of the water tank in the picture above).  After New Year’s day, it began to die, as most poinsettias do.  He knew that I was interested in hydroponics and asked me to make sure it lived until he retired.  “Just keep it going until I retire.”  I took it home and put it into my ebb and flow system, where it quickly recovered.  When it reached 1 foot tall, I took pictures of it and showed him how his poinsettia was doing.  He didn’t believe me when I told him that the little twig with one leaf he had given me was now a thriving bush.  I had set the light cycle on my system so it was blooming when I took the picture.  He accused me of buying a new plant to avoid hurting his feelings.  After reassuring him many times that this was indeed his little plant, he finally believed me.

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Marty retired and bought a luxury tug so he and his wife could sail away.  Marty was an avid sailor, but it had become too much work as he got older, so he opted for a powerboat.  The tug was a perfect boat for him, not too fast, heavy on the amenities, and oozing class from every porthole.  He was a kind man who looked out for the people in his office.  I stormed into his office once, angry about something unimportant.  He challenged me about it, knowing that I was really angry about something else.  I can’t remember what I was angry about, only the thunderclap of realizing it wasn’t him.  The anger drained out of me, and I slumped into a chair in his office.  Marty was diagnosed with Cancer a few months after he retired.  He never got to sail away, but I keep his poinsettia going to remind me of the best manager I ever had. When I packed up the hydroponic system, I let most of the plants in it go, as well.  I couldn’t let Marty’s poinsettia go, though.  I bought an automatic dog waterer and created a modified wick system for it.  It’s scraggly, a little moldy, and it has had a few close calls, but it’s still alive.  I treasure that little plant, and the memory of the man who gave it to me.

Strawberries and Catnip

My strawberry patch is in full swing these days. The critters have already started gnawing on the one or two ripe ones. The mystery berry bush is starting to grow berries, so I’ll find out the identity of my stowaway in a couple weeks. The grape vine is having a good year. Last year wasn’t so good, so I’m glad it’s making up for it. I think I can start attaching it to the fence this year.

Raspberry? Blackberry? Who knows? I bought dormant strawberry roots and somehow they packed a berry root along with it. Either way, this is the time of year when my hands are stained red with the juices of slain strawberries!

I guess I should have known that the catnip wouldn’t stand a chance. I caught the culprit in the act. Now that he’s finished off a promising catnip crop, he’s moved on to the oregano.

The dill is starting to spread. Go dill! That’s the one I’m really looking forward to. I have a short window to get any, though. The strawberries are starting to muscle in on my little herb garden. I think I have to move the herbs to higher ground pretty soon.

 

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Strawberry Patch

 

My strawberry patch has once again rebirthed itself in the warm Spring sunshine.  The broken pipe that was siphoning away most of my strawberry plants is fixed.  I started this patch two summers ago.   I bought 6 strawberry plants from Home Despot and planted them.  Imagine my surprise when a berry bush of some kind sprouted up in the middle of my strawberries.  I’ve been waiting two years to find out what kind of berries they are.  I think it will finally fruit this year, so I should find out what kind of bush has been snagging me when I mow the lawn.

 

I’m trying to grow some herbs this year.   Oregano, Dill, Cilantro, and catnip.  I had second thoughts about the catnip, but then I figured that the dog digs up the garden, why shouldn’t the cat, too?

 

Here’s Amber assaulting me in the back yard and murdering the cat. 🙂

Rush Oak Savannah

Rush Oak Opening Flickr Set

Amber and I liked the Oak Opening a lot. It was nice to see her running through the long grass. Ferns dominate the fields in some areas. That’s to be expected in a fire plain. We saw animals everywhere. A rabbit bolted right out from under my feet. Literally under my feet, I think I stepped on his tail.

NYDEC Rush Oak Openings, Rush NY Parks

Frond

I shot this palm frond in the Dominican Republic.  I was walking along the beach.  One of the guests was watching me.  He had a pretty expensive looking camera, so I figured he was watching me in a camera envy kind of way.  I decided to show off, so I took a no-look picture of this frond.  I felt childish a second later, but not before I got the shot 😉

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Rockin Robin

I saw my first Robin of the year today. Spring is coming… slowly. I hope you get a chance to play in the dirt soon 😉

Burled Wood

Burled wood is created when a tree falls naturally and starts to rot. As it decays, the grain is transformed with a unique pattern of dark swirls. If the wood is harvested before its integrity is compromised, it makes highly prized wood.

Here is some of the finished product.