Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thinking Of Bulbs

Heavy rainfall washed away the snow and ice that glazed Portland, Seattle and other parts of the Pacific Northwest last night. As forecasters predict rain will continue falling in the days and weeks to come, I think about all the many varieties of flower bulbs I planted these past five years, and this last fall. I hope the flowers, garlic and onions are all surviving the moisture. Hopefully they will not rot in the liquid Earth as my dahlia bulbs did last spring. 
Only time will tell. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spring Planting Catalog - Just Arrived!

[Click on the map to enlarge it and check the zone you garden in]

I felt so happy to find that my 2011 Garden Catalog by Burgess Seed & Plant Co had arrived in the mail today. (Their address is 905 Four Seasons Road, Bloomington, IL 61701 if you'd like to contact them that way).

Now is certainly the time to start planning to order seeds for your spring and summer gardens. Meanwhile, the catalog sells tiny saplings (e.g., weeping willow trees) as well.

For ordering the plants that are most likely to thrive in your neighborhood, view the hardiness zone map, above and order according to your zone. Now (here in the Pacific Northwest) it is time to be watching for crocuses to bloom from the bulbs we planted a few months back. A neighbor of mine (we're in zone 7 and 8) said the daffodils she planted up next to her house are already peeking like zombie fingers out of the cold, cold ground.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moss Covered Sidewalks

Only in Seattle can this much moss grow on a cement sidewalk. Well, okay, so maybe it could also happen in Forks (if Forks actually HAD a sidewalk in its rural town). Maybe this could also happen in Port Angeles. But the point is, there are not too many places on our planet besides the Pacific Northwest that gets this much rain. Granted the fir trees also offered shade to this residential walk and shielded the moss from the sun ...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Update On Why So Many Birds Died In Flocks

Did you know, an estimated 1.5 million Lapland Longspurs (pictured) died together in Minnesota and Iowa? It was back in March 1904. A great storm brewed and reports say the weather is what killed all those birds in a mass death scenario.
That's a small consolation to anyone who still feels grief over all the red wing blackbirds (and starlings) that are reported to have died here recently down in Louisiana and Arkansas. Nobody knows the cause.

This report, tells a more horrific tale of how frequently massive bird deaths happen. (Not at all common).

I'm really glad my friend Arawn shared the above article with me. I still think some of things that are recorded in that piece are RIDICULOUSLY STUPID. Beyond the 1904 scenario, these recent events look like one of the largest migrating bird kills on record (and they did NOT happen due to some horrific natural storm).

I hope nobody takes Paul Slota's statement (he's a spokesperson for the USGS National Wildlife Health Centers) and becomes complacent or supposes we might not have ANY kind of responsibility for killing so many animals. Paul said: "I think people should be aware that mortality events in wildlife are normal. They are a fact of life." 

It makes me want to ask Paul Slota if I shoved a fire cracker up his ass -- would he still consider it a "fact of life?" (The article seems to insist that fireworks on New Year's Eve is what killed the birds.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Horrified By Arkansas Bird Deaths

You'd have to be a hermit, with no Internet, phone, television or radio connections, to NOT know about the 4,000+ red wing black birds that died in Arkansas this week. (500 more birds fell from the sky in nearby Louisiana). While the story is terribly horrifying, it's also fascinating to  read all of the hysterical suspicions about what may have caused this phenomena to transpire.

All that hype about end-of-the world scenarios? "Phlllbbbttt!"

As a gardener, and a "watcher of birds," I feel ridiculously suspicious of news reports that claim to know what caused the deaths. I also feel suspicious of claims that "only red wing blackbirds and starlings have died." On some level, I wonder if reporters have mistaken the female red wing black bird (see picture)
for the starling ... (see picture below).

Time will tell what caused the terrible hemorrhaging (broken necks, wings, internal bleeding) that forced the birds to fall. For now, one can assume that fireworks were NOT to blame (not when birds fly by day, fireworks typically happen after dark AND we've been lighting fireworks for centuries and never had this happen before.)

I also do not believe the birds suffered from some poisonous gasses that Fox News (cough) reported was released by a government official. (See previous comment about the birds suffering from hemorrhage, severe physical trauma - symptoms that gas exposure does NOT create).

I also do not believe it is the end of the world. The world is certainly changing. Plants, birds, land animals are all migrating to new (more amicable) places to live. Climate change is certainly happening whether we know the cause or not.

I do believe we need to determine the cause of these recent bird and fish tragedies so intervention can be made and  loss of wildlife will not continue.

Blessed be!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gilman Village, Issaquah, WA [USA]

I believe this photo illustrates how cold it is here right now. A bit too chilly for doing much gardening, I'm afraid.