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Archive for June, 2012

Have you ever wondered?  Well, here’s an article that explains that gravity has a lot to do with it.  In fact, everything.  It’s from NPR and is quite interesting.  The article is by Robert Krulwich.  Check it out!

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I MISS MY BIRDS

OK!  I love Seattle!  I love that we are in the city and close to EVERYTHING!  I love that there are many fewer responsibilities!  BUT… I miss my bird-feeders and birds!  We used to watch the birds at the feeders during every meal.  Here, on the 14th floor, that is no longer possible.  I don’t have any way to get a feeder out there.  There are some apartments with very small balconies, but ours is not one of them.  There are birds around.  I see them and hear them.  Being in Seattle, one of the great ports of the world, there are tons of sea gulls.

The state bird of Washington is the American Goldfinch.  Goldfinches were one of the most prolific birds that came to our New Hampshire feeders, but here we haven’t seen any.  How strange is that?

Yesterday, as I sat at the Book Cart in Freeway Park, helping the Seattle Library raise money (all books-$1.-), I noticed a book called “Songbirds in your garden” by John K. Terres.  so, being a sucker for birds I,of course, paid my dollar and took it.  This book was published in 1953, so it’s a pretty old book, with some pretty outdated recommendations and ideas, ie. using DDT to clean out birdhouses!  But. there were also a few kind of fun things in there as well.

There was a section on calling birds,  inducing them to get closer to you.  I will definitely try this when alone in any park from now on!  The easiest one was to suck on the back of your thumb knuckle, making a little squeaking noise (rather like the noise a mouse makes-if you’ve ever heard on of those!).  It’s easy to replicate that squeak and it will definitely attract the birds.  According to Mr. Terres, it will draw the birds out of their cover.  It might also irritate the birds, so be prepared for the occasional bird to treat you with disdain!

I may come back to this topic again, but in the meantime, enjoy calling the birds!

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It was a fun occasion.  Our daughter has been too busy to really tend to her vegetable garden, and the peas needed staking, and some other plants needed some trimming back…  Like the parsley which was about ready to provide a home for the birds!

By the way, as you read this post, as well as others I put on-line, be aware that some words are linked to other pages.  Do go and visit them.  They should be interesting, and perhaps you’ll learn something!  🙂

Joel (my husband) and James (our grandson) decided to build a tee-pee to fit over the peas as staking.  That worked very well, but of course now the peas needed to be “retrofitted” up the string and tee-pee.  Hmmm..  That was NOT an easy task.  The peas, as you all probably know have very fragile stems.  If they are bent, they tend to break.  Well, they’d been on the ground for awhile, and weren’t happy to be pulled up to where they weren’t.  I ended up attaching the ones I could, and hoping the rest would creep up by themselves.  I’ll have to check that out on our next visit!

After that job was done, there were a few other little chores left.  The parsley had grown much too large.  In fact, it was flowering…  not really a good thing.  So, I took out the pruners and started chopping them back.  Now THAT looked like a fun job for a 9 year old boy.  He was ready to relieve me of the pruners, and I happily complied.  It was fun, easy and satisfying to see those big, rugged stems be reduced to usable parsley again.  James was proud of himself, and ready to tackle a few other things while he was in possession of those pruners.

So, I took him over to the lilac bush that was shading the veggies, and told him he could clip those branches WAY down to the major stem by the ground.  He trimmed quite a few by time he was done.  The lilac, like the parsley, was looking much better, and the veggies were back in the sun.

I think James had a good time, I know I did!  His Mom was happy to have usable parsley, and delighted that James had learned a few things about gardening.  Me too!

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RAIN IN SEATTLE

This is a broad topic!  Everyone thinks Seattle lives under an umbrella.  NOT SO!

In case you’re interested, here’s a link that will tell you about todays weather, as well as a ton of other interesting facts about Seattle.

It appears that Seattle gets about 38 inches of rain annually.  New York City gets 43 inches annually.  So, why does Seattle have that reputation?  It has that reputation because in a place like NYC, it pours and the sun comes out.  In Seattle, it drizzles and instead of sun, we see cloudy, overcast skies.

Also, in Seattle there are approximately 158 days when it rains, at least a little.  In NYC they have about 119 days with rain.  As you can see, a lot more rain falls in NYC when the skies open up.  In Seattle, we get a little at a time.

As I’m beginning to learn, people really don’t carry umbrellas.  They just expect to get drizzled on, and accept it as part of life.  Why bother carrying an umbrella around for a little drip???

It seldom “storms” here.  It appears that there are only about 7 times a year when the residents of Seattle actually HEAR thunder.  They kind of look forward to it.

The climate seems to be gorgeous from June to September when there is almost no rain, just tons of sun.  From October to March there are often light drizzle days.  It’s called “temperate”.

So why is this the way it works?  The climate is very temperate.  Mostly that happens because of the mountains.  The Olympic Mountains (where the Old Growth Rain Forest, within the Olympic National Park, is located) catches most of  the rain before it gets to Seattle.  There is also a lot of arctic air to the north, but it is caught by the Cascade Mountains.  Don’t we love the mountains???

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WHERE DOES OUR COMPOST GO?

I got a response from a friend of mine here at Horizon House.  She’s on the Conservation Committee.  Her response was, “Cedar Grove picks it up along with all the rest of Seattle and “cooks” it to turn it into suitable garden compost which they then sell back to all the happy gardeners. ”  So, now we know.  Thanks Barbara!

Here’s a little information about Cedar Grove.

Interestingly enough there was also an article (and program) about Foodscaping on NPR this morning.  I’ll provide the link about that here as well.  We’re all getting more and more conscious about composting.  That’s great!

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Well, maybe we’re not supposed to have vegetable gardens in our raised beds at Horizon House.  Vegetable gardens are not really very pretty.  They are much too practical.  HOWEVER, there are certainly ways to plant veggies among the flowers to create a colorful, and healthy garden.  A feast for the eyes as well as the tummy.

I was just reading the May 30, 2012 issue of “Seattle City Living”.  A good deal of it is devoted to healthy eating, buying local, raising your own food, cooking what you grow, etc. On the back page is an article by Kay G. Wilkens titled “Grow Vegetables in Creative Places”.  She talks about how you can plant veggies in your flower garden, and in fact, having it look very nice.   Here is the link to her article.  I’m not sure how long it will be kept on the website, but check it out anyway.  If it’s not there…well, I’ll give you a general idea of what it says.

Sometimes the lovely greens of veggies blend very nicely with flowers.  They provide greenery where often the garden is in need of filler.  A bush tomato, with tiny tomatoes on it, is colorful, looks great and doesn’t need staking.  Think of some of those very colorful kales that are not only good for you, but look great.  Then there are all the colorful lettuce plants that can literally be “stuck” amidst other plants in the flower beds.

This is also a way to get away from “monoculture” which is growing just one plant in an area.  The more variety you have, the better your garden will grow.  It will attract the good bugs and repel the bad ones.  I know that sounds too simple, but in fact it is true.  It is known as “companion planting“.

Think about it!

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