Planting A Lemon Tree In A Stump – Video

(WordPress at my level does not provide inline video links.  If you want to see the time lapse, the link below has it.  My Blogger link has it as well here.)

Youtube has an amazing amount of videos on it.

Some of them are amazing.  I don’t really think this one is amazing, but it did give me an excuse to use the time lapse feature on the camera.

Then hacked a bunch of titles on to it.

So the slightly longer story is that I had a rather beautiful palm tree in the backyard.  It was about 30 plus feet tall and you could see it easily a block away.

I did say “had”.

It got sick, infected with some sort of fungus, and started to die off.

We removed the tree, and it produced a trash can lid sized stump in the grass that was begging to have something done to it.

In the meantime, I was growing a lemon tree from seed because we couldn’t find just the kind of lemon tree that someone wanted.

You know “Regular” Lemons.  Not Meyer Lemons or Stripey ones or giant ones.  Regular.

Since the yard is over planted, and I have zero room for anything else, I got the bright idea to grind the stump in the yard and create a planter.

Believe it or not, what gave me the idea was a Grizzly Bear.

Actually the Bear was a statue created by an Artist in Solebury Township, PA.

See, if you are heading to New Hope, PA from my old house in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA, you drive North on US 202 past Doylestown, PA.  Once you are getting close to New Hope, you reach a curve.  On the curve is an artist who makes things with chainsaws.  Believe it or not they’re quite nice, although I can’t see having a ten foot tall wooden Grizzly Bear on my little property up there, so I never got one.

The yard is way too small for a Grizzly Bear here, but if he can cut away a stump to make a bear, I certainly could hack my way through to make a hole to put a Lemon Tree Seedling.

Or it will be “A Tree” in five years or more.  Maybe we will get lemons from it, I don’t know.

To paraphrase the old parable, If you want to drink Lemonade today, You should have planted the lemon tree five years ago.

After all, someone here wanted one, and I figured I owed him something.  More than that little seedling tree at any rate and it is the right type of tree.

Besides, his birthday is coming up so while I won’t call this a birthday present, I will call it a “gesture”.

Happy Gesture, enjoy your little tree.

Oh, and there are two more that I have to find homes for, so unless you want me getting “creative” planting things, you may want to make a “sug-gesture” of your own.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Tortilla Recipe

Actually, I hesitate to call this a recipe.

It’s so simple.

On the other hand since my metabolism is through the roof with all the cardio I do, I sometimes need a snack NOW! at odd hours and this is perfect for that.

As prepared, this is only 95 calories.  Your counts can vary depending on the size of things but here we go!

And it’s so easy it’s one of those kid friendly things you can do.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Six Inch Flour Tortilla
  • 1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • A Dusting of Ground Cinnamon to taste

Preparation:

  • Take a six inch flour tortilla out of the package and place it on the rack of the toaster oven.
  • Dust the tortilla liberally with Ground Cinnamon to taste.
  • Pour the Brown Sugar on top of the Ground Cinnamon and mix it evenly.  I use my finger (don’t tell!).
  • Slide the rack back into the toaster oven and toast until tan and crispy.
  • When done, allow to cool and slice into pieces as needed.

Yep!  That’s it.  Like I said, I hesitate to call this a recipe.  More of a snack, and something after a workout to boost my blood sugar back to normal so I don’t fall asleep in the chair.

Enjoy!

Propagating Bougainvillea – Two Months Later

It may sound strange to you if you live in an area where the temperatures are closer to freezing, or below, instead of being a Beach Day in the middle of December, but I did manage to catch the season right for planting.

In October.

When I went to propagate the Bougainvillea, it was because the vines were being eaten away by Subterranean Termites.

We get those termites here in South Florida, and protecting things here requires creating a toxic soup barrier around your house.

I expect that the Bougainvillea arbor that is the “mother plant” is just outside of the Toxic Soup Zone.

These vines are as thick as my thighs in some places, and I have very large thighs as I am an inline skater who considers a 2200 calorie workout “light”.  But these vines were also eaten to the point where I may lose the plant in a year or so.

They wobble freely on their roots.

I trimmed off random sections of the older growth to start new plants.

Half of them began putting out tiny leaves, the others sat there looking like dead sticks.

Since this is my life, weirdness ensued.

The ones with the tiny leaves either died or went dormant.   I will leave these alone in my highly watered propagation pots.

However the ones with no growth on them began to sprout leaves and some are already blooming.  On a two month old cutting.  In a pot.

I find it strange too.

My expected date of planting is the first day of Spring, March 21.  It is currently (looks at my watch) December 10th.

So I have more time to grow.

The Sticks not withstanding, are fine.  The ones that have gone “dormant” or have died will have until March to make up their flowery mind whether to live or to be turned into mulch.

In the interim I have high hopes for some cuttings that I made from the mother plants that were new growth.   Yes, in December, these things are putting out new shoots.

They are in the “nursery pots” and are not drying up like some of the other cuttings have been, so who knows.

I’m also nursing 55 Rosemary cuttings and none of them have decided to curl up and die yet.  We will be using them for ground cover.  Ground cover you can use to make a pizza or spaghetti sauce.

March, being three months away, gives me time to obsess and wait to see what survives.

 

All that Rosemary came from what a good friend of mine in Atlanta described as “One of those sad little xmas trees that they try to guilt you into buying at the supermarket”.

 

I’ve been told that I truly need to stop doing this though.  I’m seriously running out of space.  Just this morning, I snipped what I thought was a twig.  Finger thickness branch was cut off the salmon bougainvillea.

 

By the time I got that “twig” to the ground, it had pulled off two other “twigs” with it and was over six feet long.  Two meters of nasty bitey thorn filled branches.

If I get any spare bougainvillea I’ll let people know.  FOB My Front Porch.  I never have any luck giving anything away but I will make the offers.

That Gardening Bug.  I guess really it is “Landscaping” because I’m rapidly approaching an industrial scale.  It gets under your skin and makes you feel like you’re doing something productive.

Guess what?  You are.

 

Tired of Belly Rubs? Use a Sock on your McNab SuperDog(TM)

(oops, forgot a title)

Every night it seems to be our routine.

Find some sitcoms after dinner.  There are plenty both on local broadcast TV and on the web.

Wonderfully silly and surreal TV shows about Ditzy Farm Wives with a Pig that is smarter than you are.  Women who once moved to Minneapolis where it was cold and she thought she’d “Keep Better” but now is giving Noo Yawk its “Last Chance”.  RCMP Mounties in Chicago with a deaf wolf solving crimes.

Ahh they don’t make TV like that now do they?

Sheldon and Leonard or Rachel and Ross aside that is.

Being the tall and Rangy type, my arms and legs go all over the place.  I illegally put my right leg up on the arm of the couch where I have created a divot.  I really shouldn’t do that but if I don’t Mr Dog can’t get back to his corner.

That corner.  It has the foam rubber from an Ikea Poang Chair wrapped in a synthetic blanket.  It’s his bed.  He lays on it, sometimes.  He lays next to it, sometimes.  Other times he melts off the side in some weird origami pattern bent like a sausage and flattened out.

It’s the life of having a working dog in a suburban home.

I don’t think I could do this with a pure bred Border Collie.  They’re wonderful dogs, but when old Alexander McNab made the breed that I favor, McNab Dog, he bred out the twitchiness and the extreme need to be doing something NOW! at any moment.

While the people on the farms where the McNab was originally created for will scream “He’s a Working Dog!  He should be on a FARM”, I am proof that one size does not fit all.

Besides, I am constantly reading about McNabs who decided that life on the farm may be kind of laid back but not for them.

I swear I’m going to go out to California where these dogs are common, drive around with the roof off my Jeep and if one jumps in for a ride, I won’t try too hard to find it’s home.

They walk off and find their way to other farms or into homes and these amazingly adaptable creatures do well.

My own Dog Of A Lifetime has a job.  It’s Me.  Living here near the shops and the tourists, he’s able to get a lot of mental stimulation that a lifetime of chasing sheep will never give him.

The only weird affect he seems to be developing is he has chosen guarding as his job.

You see, wherever I am, I must be watched.  If the UPS Truck (or Fed E-Arrow-X) comes by he grumbles.  I’m still trying to teach him that the Postie is our Friend but he’s not buying it.

At night when I’m watching Lisa “plug in an 8” and blow out the “electricical”, Rack is resting under my hand.  I’m giving him belly rubs with that hand and he’s happy.

Dreaming happy dreams where his tail wags, maybe dreaming of running through his wormhole to visit the other realm where Rack is King of the McNabs, or just wandering behind the hedges to have a little peace away from the loud diesel trucks that are servicing the shops.

It’s all good, it’s all waggable, he’s a happy soul that rests next to his job.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But I do get tired from time to time and have to take my hand back.

That is when we discovered something curious.  I can use a sock.

No, seriously.  If he goes into that trance like state, where he’s awake but not really, I can place a sock or two across his belly that is exposed and the weight of the hosiery does just enough.

He thinks I’m still petting the belly that he exposes like a light switch lighting the dark, and I get to shake blood back into my hand and wind my automatic diver’s watch a little bit.

Yes, living in Florida with a pool, having a diver’s watch is important since you just might get knocked into the pool.  When Rack gets charging around those corners out there, he’s been known to fly over the water and into that wormhole where I have been knocked into the deep end once or twice.

Got to work on that there, Cow Dog!

When he finally comes fully aware that he’s been duped, we start that cycle again.  Arnold the Pig is grunting on the TV or we’re visiting with that Mighty Fine Woman, Kate at the hotel near the tracks.  Rack is guilting me to rub his belly again.

All are happy, all are well in our little land of domesticity.

Would not have it any other way!

Poinsettias Sparking in the Early Sun

If you ever caught the old, I mean 50 year old, TV show called Green Acres, you have an idea of my back yard.

Mind you I’m not creating a farm on a Park Avenue NYC penthouse with a ditzy blond, I am just doing my planting in my own backyard.

Unlike Oliver Douglas, my own container farm eventually does go into the ground.

All those pots do give me something wholesome to obsess over, and I have been planting things all my life.   The flowers are pleasant to look at, and once in a while I get something to eat out of them.

This particular pot has Poinsettias.   I actually got the plant from a backdoor of a shopping center as they were set by a dumpster so someone else could enjoy them after the holiday season.  This was at least nine years ago that I found them.  Periodically I would take cuttings and stick them in the soil.  They grow well in South Florida and make a showy display of red leaves in Early November for the holidays.

My godmother tells a story how she did something like that after the holidays were done and eventually got a Poinsettia growing into a shrub until some random pests got to it.

That pot also has ended up being a scaled down nursery because it has some of Betty’s Vincas and some of the latest obsession, Propagating Bougainvillea.

The Bougainvillea inspection was what drew me to it.

And for the record, after four weeks, I have a couple of viable Bougainvillea plants that are in pots and in the ground already.  Go for it, if you have them, I’m getting better than 2 in 3 cuttings survive.

It was after sunrise but before the sun comes up over the tree line to hit the plants in the yard.  I noticed everything was dusted like it was a coating of sanding sugar on them.  The indirect light was reflecting and sparking at me more than I had expected.

It made me come back out again about an hour later when the sun did hit them directly and the result was a rather fascinating show.   As you move around I was treated to a series of rainbows, sparkles, and other things that flash in the light.

I guess it’s those “other things” you need to watch out for in life!

A cross between some of those reflective coatings they use in road striping and that sanding sugared surface greeted me.  Luckily that display lasted just long enough to record it.

Once done, I realized that Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) was hovering to go back inside.

There’s only so much you can do when you have a wet nose staring back at you to move along.

Wilton Manors At Sunrise

I have to admit, I really do like walking through this town before sunrise.

The time is quiet.  I-95 is only barely audible.  The trains aren’t necessarily here and if they are here, I can pretend they aren’t.

When I am not talking to Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM), on a day like this with almost no breezes, all I am hearing are our footsteps and the ringing in my ears.

Thanks, Mom, all that aspirin you fed me left me a present.

I get to stargaze, and while I am looking up at the skies, sometimes I get to indulge myself.  This morning, since I am still trying to adjust to the time change to standard time, I lay in bed an extra half hour or so.  When I do finally get out there, the skies were no longer completely dark.  More of a purple.

Stepping outside, I let Rack walk to the front of the property so he could water His Rock.  I almost always look up and noticed that there were enough clouds out there to make things interesting.  Not quite yet, but later.

Rounding the block, Rack told me that he wanted a Short Walk by herding me one way.  A mere four tenths of a mile today.  Even though I have to break him of that habit, I could use the time to do other things.

We went down a residential street that had a good view of the skies toward the beach.

That is a good view once I stopped looking at what Rack was sniffing at.  I never did figure that out.

The skies were getting brighter and the sun was rising above the Bahamas at this point.  They really aren’t that far away from me.  When that happens, we get the undersides of our clouds lit up by the distant orange rays that are just beginning to peak up over the horizon.

Or so I tell myself.

Walking around the block I hear the neighbor ask “What-cha lookin’ at?”

“It’s a really pretty sunrise.  I’ll have to try to get a good picture of it!”

I may have ringing in my ears, but I have a very stable hand when it comes to photography.

“Good luck to you!  I have pools to take care of!”  As he went off looking for his pool scoop for the back of his pickup truck.

I walked down the block with my neck craned over my shoulder saying to nobody in particular “Yep!  I’m going to get that picture”.

I got a wag out of Rack for that.  He does that often.  Good, I have an excuse for talking and I’m not really talking to myself.

With light breezes and a pleasant temperature, this is why people live here.

It’s also why the Snowbirds come down here and drive stupidly on my roads.  Since it is currently snowing in the big cities up North like Philadelphia and will be in Boston, I’m thinking that the airplanes will be all full up very shortly.

Butterfly At The Pool

The thing about gardening is that you have a lot of visitors.

Through the years, I’ve been visited by various reptiles, more lizards than I can count, insects, and other neighbors.

Both two and four legged.

This morning, going out to inspect my nursery pots and see how my bougainvillea cuttings are doing, I noticed that there were literally dozens of monarch butterfly caterpillars happily eating my milkweed down to pegs.

As a gardener it is at once frustrating and pleasurable.  I would love some seeds from those milkweeds, but courtesy of a neighbor and friend here, I have a cage that I could put the plants inside so they would go to seed.

As one who enjoys nature, that is why I plant the milkweed.  It’s there so the butterflies come to my yard.   It is a rare day that I don’t see a number of those Monarchs on the wing, floating around, coming to a landing somewhere.

To paraphrase:  If I build it, they will come.

Home (plate) I guess is in my backyard.

I don’t wander around aimlessly back there, there’s a purpose.  Usually I’m being herded back to the back door by my boy Rack the McNab SuperDog(TM) after only a few minutes, so standing at the back door and taking one last look means I am trying to think if there is anything that needs to be cared for.

I let him back inside because I realized I needed to deal with a visitor.   This Butterfly was perched, resting, on my sad little Hibiscus that so often is ravaged by Iguanas.

Yes, we have herds of those beasts running around.  The Iguanas turn the neighborhood into something reminiscent of Jurassic Park, and usually result in my thinking “I hope there will be a solid cold snap this winter”.

Their muscles can’t function below 45F, and if it gets into the 30s it will kill them.

Good.

But this Butterfly seemed to be enjoying the rest and watching me go about my own stupidity.

Good.   They’re welcome here.    One of at least five different daily visitor species here.

If you’re seeing Butterflies in the yard and want more, the next step is to leave a little fruit out there for them to find.  The Fairchild Gardens in South Miami does exactly that in their butterfly house.  A little banana or orange goes a long way to help these beautiful creatures survive.

As for the Iguanas?  I hear they’re good in a Curry Sauce.  Chicken of the Trees!