I did this thing, which has been floating around the internets for a while, mostly as an excuse to search for random images on Flickr and see what happened. Fun and mostly harmless. (it did distract me from eating my lunch, and I might have dropped some pasta salad in my lap - oops.)
1. What is your first name? Ginger
2. What is your favorite food? pretzels
3. What high school did you go to? Dike HS
4. What is your favorite color? Orange
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Richard Dean Anderson
6. Favorite drink? Rhubarb Martini (this week)
7. Dream vacation? Walking tour of Ireland
8. Favorite dessert? fruit crisp (with any fruit, really)
9. What you want to be when you grow up? a jewelry designer
10. What do you love most in life?
(besides my husband and family?) Gardening.
11. One Word to describe you. optimistic
12. Your Flickr name. gingershana (there weren't any images with a match, so I chose my avatar image instead.)
Click here for photo credits.
If you'd like to do it too here's what you do:
Open three windows. One with the list of questions, another open to Flickr and ready to do an image search, and a third to Big Huge Labs' Mosaic Maker (create a mosaic with 4 columns and 3 rows). Answer the first question, put your answer in the search field on Flickr and choose one of the images from the first page to represent your answer. Click on the photo then copy and paste the url into the #1 spot on the Mosaic Maker. Do that for all 12 questions, then click create and post the results to your blog or Flickr page, or just save it to your computer.
The most interesting thing to me is to see what sorts of photos pop up that are seemingly unrelated to the search term I typed in. (I swear, for #10, I typed in 'gardening') It's also interesting that I seem drawn to the same colors within images, even if they are of completely different things. Green and orange, black and white...
Leave a comment with a link if you decide to do it!
Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
So, currently the only things holding up the front of our house are six (6) two-by-fours. Fun! Mark and our friend Jon have gotten a heck of a lot done today. Thanks, Jon!
They managed to figure out a way to do it so that we don't have to take the column trim apart. We can slide the new column up into it instead. We'll see how that works in reality later. But at least instead of three separate column segments, it will be one continuous 4x4.
The biggest question remains, however: why does this work always seem to happen on the hottest days? (See yesterday's post - yeah, it's that hot) Also, today is the Greenwood Classic Car Show, which means that all day people have been parking in our neighborhood and walking past our house. And doing double-takes, most of them. It's pretty funny to watch.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I love these "Special Weather Statements" from NOAA. They're great because they attempt to be professional, but ultimately, they always break down and reveal what "weather wimps" we are up here in the Emerald City. "It's going to be hot, so don't leave your pet in a parked car and check up on grandma" is essentially what this one is telling us. And it's not even going to be that hot, we may hit, gasp, 90 degrees!
A STRONG RIDGE OF HIGH PRESSURE WILL BUILD OVER THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FRIDAY THROUGH THE WEEKEND. TEMPERATURES ON FRIDAY WILL BE NOTICEABLY WARMER ACROSS WESTERN WASHINGTON UNDER SUNNY SKIES. (They have to say this because it never happens.) OFFSHORE FLOW WILL STRENGTHEN OVER THE WEEKEND WITH MUCH HOTTER TEMPERATURES EXPECTED. SOME SPOTS MAY FLIRT WITH RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES...ESPECIALLY LOCATIONS AWAY FROM THE WATER.
TEMPERATURES ON FRIDAY ARE EXPECTED TO RANGE FROM THE 70S ALONG THE COAST TO THE UPPER 70S AND 80S INLAND. ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY MOST AREAS SHOULD REACH INTO THE 80S...WITH SOME LOW TO MID 90S POSSIBLE. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT A FEW SPOTS COULD APPROACH OR BREAK THE RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE DAY.
MARINE AIR WILL ARRIVE AT THE COAST MONDAY (Collective, community wide sigh of relief) BRINGING COOLER TEMPERATURES. HOWEVER...IT MAY TAKE A COUPLE DAYS FOR TEMPERATURES TO MODERATE OVER INTERIOR WESTERN WASHINGTON.
EXCEPT FOR THE SHORT HOT SPELL IN MID MAY...IT HAS BEEN COOLER THAN NORMAL THE LAST COUPLE MONTHS. (Double tru dat, homie). THIS WILL BE A RATHER ABRUPT TRANSITION TO HOT WEATHER. BE CAREFUL OF THE HEAT IN THE COMING DAYS AND CHECK UP ON THE ELDERLY. STAY HYDRATED AND AVOID VIGOROUS ACTIVITY DURING THE HEAT OF THE DAY. NEVER LEAVE PETS IN A PARKED CAR.
OMG, I was totally thinking of doing vigorous activity on my front porch, but thanks to NOAA, I can blow that off for another week!
Overheard somewhere in Seattle...
"Didn't you read the Special Weather Statement? I'm supposed to stay hydrated. Beer me."
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Plant Of The Week #6
Black Lace Elderberry
This oh-so-trendy shrub is currently blocking the sight-line triangle in one of my parking strips. We "forgot" to get a permit for planting in the City's Right-of-Way and surely this large shrub that can be trained into a small tree would not have been allowed. Oh well! It's grown fast since we planted it in October 2006, the same year it was named "Best New Plant" at the ANLA garden show, (yup, plants get awards, too). I love this: "BLACK LACE™ is a stunning development in Elderberry breeding." Indeed!
Here it's quite nicely set off by the yellow Sedum, red Uncinia, green Chasmanthus, greenish pink Ceanothus and grayish Oleria. Don't worry, all of these plants are future POTWs.
The reason everybody is so excited about this new variety of elderberry is likely that the finely dissected dark purple leaf is always interesting for one, but then it blooms with huge pink panicles that provide a big contrast against the foliage for a month. And they smell great too. It's pretty cool. It will provide a great accent surrounded by smaller plants, or as a backdrop for plants with brighter foliage. It's hardy, too. USDA zones 4-9. It grows VERY fast, but like all elderberries you can cut it back to the ground in late winter and it will happily come back quickly. Ours is already 6' tall and getting taller fast after only 1.75 years in the ground.
Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' should be fairly drought tolerant although it will wilt in the afternoon as ours does when it is really hot and dry. So far it's been pest free.
"I couldn't see you behind that stunning development in Elderberry breeding! Here's my insurance card. Sorry about your Prius."
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Plant Of The Week #5, Griffith's Spurge
Martha Stewart and I have only one thing in common, we both like this Euphorbia. Generally called spurge or milkweed spurge, Euphorbia is a widely variable genus of of plants from tiny annuals to tropical trees. Your Christmas poinsettia is actually Euphorbia pulcherrima. (Which instead of being thrown out with the expired eggnog in February could grow into a 10' tall tree if you lived in say, Mexico or Hawaii...). Many euphorbias resemble cacti or succulents. Others release their seeds explosively. And they don't actually have flowers, but tiny fused bracts called cyathium. Cyathia may appear singly or in clusters and often it's the bracts below the cyathia that provide the color, as in the poinsettia. See, this is one cool genus of plants.
There are so many different Euphorbias commercially available in different colors and sizes that I'm still getting the hang of what's out there. So far, Griffith's Spurge tops the cool list.
Euphorbia griffithii tends to like sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Like all euphorbias it has milky white sap that can irritate sensitive skin or could possibly be toxic if ingested. Just don't plant it around your daycare center playground and you'll be just fine. I think it's just one of those things people feel they need to warn you about, like "Hey, it's dangerous to climb a ladder." Yeah, we know.
Griffith's Spurge is native to the Himalayas, gets about 36" tall and slowly spreads by creeping roots, but is not particularly aggressive. Long and narrow leaves are reddish orange when new, with green-orange stems. The "flowers" are reddish-orange, but variable. Cultivars include 'Fireglow' with even brighter orange leaves, cyathia, and stems; and 'Dixter', which grows to 24" ht. and has a darker green to pinkish leaf with less brightly colored cyathia. It's a perennial, dies back, and will grow in USDA Zones 5-9.
See, cool as ice.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Plant Of The Week #4, Chilean Fire Tree
But the fire tree was not on his list, it was not a plant we had to memorize. Probably due to its rarity in the landscape generally although I see more and more around Seattle as its popularity grows. Back in the Arboretum I saw the fire-orange blooms covering the 30' tree from tip to toe and just had to investigate. Years later I would return to the same tree every spring just to see the blooms. Then years later still, Ginger and I returned again to collect seeds and now we have 5 of our own Chilean fire trees growing out on the back patio in clay pots. They're too young to bloom yet but one of my neighbors has one, so I get to enjoy his every night that we walk past when we "G-o on Lola's w-a-l-k."
Sometimes a large tree to 50', sometimes a multi-trunked shrub to 20'; leaves can be either deciduous or evergreen (ours seem to be evergreen) oblong, somewhat shiny, and sort of a dusty yellow-green. The showy bright orange to red flowers emerge in late May and last a month. Hummingbirds love them. This tree needs good drainage, is drought tolerant, likes acid soil and needs to be protected from freezing wind. USDA Zones 8-11. They seem to like to be left alone, so plant one and don't fuss with it. I'm not sure how old they need to be to bloom. Probably 5 years in the ground would be my guess.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Every Father's Day weekend is "Classic Weekend" on Pier 66. 50 vintage wood yachts (or more) fill up the whole marina, which is right in front of downtown. First we all parade in, this year led by the Seattle Fireboat LESCHI shooting 22,000 gallons per minute of water into the air, then we dock and spend 2 days and nights eating and hanging around with other wooden boat owners. It's always fun, but this year for the first time ever the weather was perfect. Sunny and warm both days.
- Mark ate too much and sunburned the crap out of his ears
- SWIETENIA got lots of attention because she does look really good if I do say so myself
- Returning through the locks we tied off to a sistership, one of only 4 we know about
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Arguh this stupid Sonics trial. Where do you even start? Perhaps, dear 8 or 9 readers of BoatMulch, you're not aware of the predicament we Sonics fans find ourselves in these days. A short course.
Here's the way I see it. A bunch of evil, but wealthy rednecks from Oklahoma bought the Sonics from the equally evil and wealthy CEO of Starbucks. Schultz sold out fans by failing to find a local ownership group to buy the team and, in my mind, knowingly sold the team to men who would move the team from the 13th largest media market in the nation to the 73rd or something. It's a money loser for the NBA, but "Not My" Commissioner David Stern is in in the good ol' boy club with the rednecks so he's OK with losing cash if it benefits his buddies in OK. C.
Now Schultz is trying to save face, but that's another trial for later in this summer. Stay tuned.
So I'm mad. Mad enough to leave work early and head out to the Save Our Sonics rally in front of the Federal Courthouse yesterday to see X-man and the Glove speak and to help yell a few off color chants at the TV cameras. And I took some pictures hilarious signs, too, look for that in another post.
I've been following the Sonics since 1992 when my then-girlfriend's father had season tickets. This was the beginning of the Payton/Kemp glory days and I was seeing history in the making, live, in the Key, before it was called the Key. I was of course still officially a Jazz fan until 1998 when the no-call on Jordan against Russell made me lose interest in the NBA for awhile... But I paid attention to the Sonics and kept going to games on and off. Then a few years ago the man-on-couch-with-beer gene kicked in and I began to more religiously watch the Sonics even as their fortunes waned. You see, I pretty much hate all other sports. Hate is a strong word, maybe "don't care" is better. So the one home team I enjoy and completely understand from the "3 second rule" on down is leaving town?
What bothers me most about the trial is that current owner Bennett and his gang of Swift Boat Liars are trying to put the fans on trial for not supporting the team. This drives me crazy because Bennett has consistently gutted the team with every player move since he took over, in an attempt to 1) clear the payroll so his financial losses are reduced in the interim and 2) disinterest the fans in the team as they struggle to win games so he can claim that nobody cares if the team leaves town. It's worked pretty well, attendance is way down. It's a catch 22 for fans because we want to support the team by going to games and buying fan stuff, but that, in turn just lines the pockets (or reduces the losses) of the very man who is stealing the team. Like the 2007-08 SuperSonics, we can't possibly win. How can I love the Sonics when they're on Bennett's payroll from Durrant on down to the mascot, Squatch?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
DTMD #1. Leaving the soaker hose on all night.
Let's start a new category of what could be a weekly post. Dumb things Mark does, DTMD. Here's a classic bonehead move that I've been doing for years but this particular instance of boneheadedness had ridiculous ramifications: Accidentally leaving the water on.
We bought some new plants at Costco, you know, the ones that come in those bags. I don't recommend doing this. Number one, because Costco is a scam, #2 because Costco is not a nursery and they treat plants the same way they treat tires (Water? What is water?) and #3, because no matter what is in the bag, it never seems to recover from the cruelty of being bagged, palletized, and shipped across the nation in hot trucks. Who knows how long they've been in those bags. Probably since gas was $3.00. Remember that?
Anyway, there were some Mexican Shell Flowers (future POTW when it blooms) and some other frilly things that Ginger wanted so we planted them. Then it warmed up for about a week (this was two weeks ago, before the June winter). So they started to dry out a bit and being without roots yet and still recovering from Costco-itis, I put the soaker hose out. I then forgot I had a soaker hose or Costco plants and left it on for several hours. This helped us confirm that our 1919 house does not have foundation drains. The basement flooded.
Good times good times.
"What's that noise? Is the water still on?"
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Plant of the Week #3: Single Leaf Ash
Fraxinus anomala or Single Leaf Ash is a much-loved desert southwest shrub or small tree. Much loved by me alone I thought. But a Google search revealed that I wasn't the only person on earth so enamored with this gift of bright green happiness. These photos were taken on our last camping trip to southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado in May 2007. I took about a thousand photos of plants. Many will appear here in later posts. Plant Geek indeed.
As the Latin name states, it's an anomaly. The only plant of it's genus without compound leaves. It's also an anomaly in the landscape. Struggling out of dry cracks and crevices that other plants could never call home, the ash is a welcome burst of bright green on a hike in the desert or buried in a canyon where most other plants are clothed in a dusty blue or gray.
This shot was taken above our campsite on a 60 degree incline in the San Rafael Swell's Buckhorn Draw. Lola our dog attempted to dutifully join us and ended up sliding backwards down the slickrock taking off her nails in the process. She's a bruiser. The blood and the pain did not deter her.
Back to the Ash. A multi-trunked shrub to 14 feet under ideal conditions. Much less in harsher locations. The bark becomes dark, ribbed and flaky with age, like it's larger compound-leaved cousins. Also like other ashes, it's a prolific seeder with winged seeds visible in the photo. Zone 5-7. I doubt you can buy this at the local nursery, but it would make an excellent addition to a desert or mountain naturescape. You bet your ass it's drought tolerant!
Special thanks to some guy on the web for the above photo. Shows the form a bit better than I could muster leaning back onto the slickrock and holding on to a piñon pine. (Ohhh, piñon pine, now there's a good one!)
"Why is that man taking pictures of weeds?"
Monday, June 9, 2008
This just might be a 'complain-about-the-weather" post. We're supposed to be tough up here, with all this rain and the endless gloomy winters. It makes us hardy. We're not that tough though. Gloom, fine. Drizzle, fine. But rain, wind, cold OR "excessive" heat? Freak out time. If it gets below 50 we complain. If it gets above 80 it's a heat wave and local newscasts tell people to to stay inside and drink water. Seriously.
But right now, it's June for hell sakes! Last summer was like this too. It was cold all summer, we rarely had a day above 70. Never above 80. It rained for every boat show, it was cold for every trip outside. Our tomatoes occasionally grew but not really.
According to NOAA:
La Niña is defined as cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific ocean that impact global weather patterns. La Niña conditions may persist for as long as two years.
I guess we're in year two. The wind is blowing so hard right now that some plywood in our exposed attic rafters just blew onto the lawn. (Why exposed rafters? See the "Porch" posts.)
This shot of our back deck was taken April 18, 2008. I think officially this was the latest ever recorded snowfall in Seattle. What's funny is the BBQ and deck chairs are out. Nice. We just got snow in the mountain passes again last night. Apparently we broke another record: Latest ski season closing ever! But who cares, nobody wants to ski past March. Some summer.
Right this second, we're having a weather phenomenon known only to Pacific Northwesterners called a "sunbreak." The sun shines for a brief period of time, usually before the drizzle starts again. In today's case, a 100% chance of overnight showers. I hope the tourists are having fun in the sun! It's going to last about another 10 minutes.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
Plant Of The Week, #2
Choisya ternata 'Aztec Pearl' or Mexican Orange, is a great medium-sized evergreen shrub that grows down to USDA Zone 8. I think this shrub is a little tougher than that, maybe to 7b. As requested, I'll try to post some plants that don't just grow in Seattle in the future, but this might not be one of them... It's in bloom right now so you'll have to forgive me. These are fairly fast growing. Ours started at 2 gallon size and has doubled in 20 months. Ultimately you're looking at about a 4'-0" high and wide shrub. What's so great about it? It's the foliage I think. The flowers are ok, last about a month, attract bees and possibly birds, and are extremely fragrant; but it's the foliage that really smells good. Mexican Orange is the common name because of the spicy scented leaves that, when broken, smell vaguely of orange. Whenever I pass it on a walk I grab a leaf and break it.
I used to not like this plant much, but when the mad botanists that hybridize plants came out with 'Aztec Pearl', I was sold. The more slender and brighter green leaf is much more interesting than the straight species, which has broader, less delicate looking foliage that is frankly pretty boring when not in bloom. And regular Choisya ternata can get really big, so Aztec works better in tighter spaces. Both are drought tolerant once established. The leaves may droop a bit when they're really dry.
"It's like smelling the roses without getting aphids in your nose and a thorn in your cheek. "
ps. That red grass in the foreground is Uncinia uncinata, Hook Sedge. Native of Hawaii. Haven't you seen it on LOST? Sun was planting it in her garden when Charlie kidnapped her. Just kidding.