Gina

Just a few weeks shy of 12 years old. We had a feeling it was getting to the end. She still enjoyed her treats but she was a lot less active and just generally slept a good deal more.

She was a good little chinchilla. Had a lot of spunk.
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We’ll miss having her. I miss her pellet throwing now.

OK back to the plants

This is all I see now everywhere I go. Indoor houseplants.

I’m going to start with some outdoor ones first.

The unstoppable oregano.
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I thought the subfreezing temperatures for sure did it in. To the point where I didn’t even bother to water it anymore. And it came back anyway. I feel like a proud mother.

Nasturtiums.
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I will replant some of these outdoors and try to get flowers. And maybe even get some seeds for next season. Take that Monsanto! I’m saving my own goddamned seeds. If I can anyway.

They’re about this big right now.
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These nasturtiums came from 5 year old seeds I thought were no good. I threw them away in this pot of soil that was meant for my not-growing ginger rhizomes.
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They grew though. Along with some sage seeds I also tossed in there. This is my miscellaneous pot of seedlings.

Now the indoor plants.
An update on the begonia – The twig portion of the cutting seems to have died off after that baby leaf fell off. The other leafy section of the cutting is doing well though. One original leaf dropped but a new leaf has grown in its place. Quite big too.
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I’ll give the twig portion another month or so and if there’s no new growth, I’m just going to pull it out. I gave it a gentle wiggle and tug today and I can tell there are roots holding on, so I’m going to remain optimistic on this.

And my succulent project.
This leaf I tugged off an existing succulent from my parents. I let the stump dry and scab over and then put it scab side down on damp soil. You can see a little bit of growth at the stump and actually I tried to tug it off gently and I could tell by the resistance that it too has rooted in there nicely.
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Here are the mail order succulents.
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I’ve lost a few of the cuttings and it looks like I may lose another. Still, I think it was worth it. I love seeing them perk up and look much nicer than when they came out of the box.
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I watered them fairly regularly (every other day) for a while, but now that they have roots, I am letting the soil dry out before giving them more water.
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This soil is for succulents and cacti so it is very sandy and dries quickly. I’m actually unsure if the ones that didn’t make it were from too much or too little water.

Tennis

I played tennis in high school. And by played, I mean I ran around the court chasing after tennis balls each Summer and Fall. It gave my hair natural highlights from the sun and gave my face a horrible tanline from my sunglasses. Even with diligently applied sunscreen. I blame my inability to play, on a racket that was too heavy and poor hand-eye coordination. I’ve since eliminated one issue because now I’m able to lift 10 lb dumbbells and rackets are made of fluffy light marshmallows. I’ll be back to learning how to play this sport again this year. My goal is to learn how to return a ball to the other side of the net within the boundary lines. This should be fun. I will now have to go dig out my cute tennis skirt from high school, which was probably the only reason why I even signed up for tennis in high school, just to have an excuse to wear a cute tennis skirt. My motivation hasn’t changed. Just that this time, I want to play a little bit of tennis while wearing the skirt.

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Look Gina! Tennis balls for me to chase!

Succulents

My succulents arrived last week and as soon as I got them, I stuck them in my prepared succulent containers.

They came in a box packed in shredded paper.
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I dumped them out on a big sheet of newspaper and started sifting out the cuttings.

Here they are. So far, still looking the same.
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I keep them on the windowsill.

What I think about all the time lately

Begonia – It took about a week after potting when the twig sprouted a baby leaf.
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And up until this morning the leaf was there looking beautiful, but when I got home today, no leaf.
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As you can see the leaf is gone. I don’t know why it fell off but it fell off. I hope this plant is still okay.

Spiderette – This was a random baby spiderplant hanging off the main plant I cut and planted. It still looks kind of droopy and sad but I just checked it and there are roots hanging onto the soil now so it should be fine. These grow so easily, I just love them. They build up my planting confidence.
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Ginger – So far, nothing. I stuck a big chunk of ginger on top of some soil. 2 weeks. Nothing. I took it out and cooked it and ate it. I got more ginger, this time finding a piece with lots of growth nubbins. Then I left it. Still nothing. Then I chopped it up and put the pieces in dishes with some shallow water by the window. I got one piece with mold. I took it out and I haven’t added any more water since. I think I see something maybe starting to happen. Ginger is sooo slow when you want it to grow and when you just leave it in the kitchen for cooking, it grows! What gives?!
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And look Gina! New seeds! Sage, nasturtium, and sensitive plants.
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So while the ginger is busy not doing anything I have this gimongo pot of dirt growing nothing, and that just can’t be. I just sprinkled some sage seeds in there. I’ll grow them as indoor plants and see how they do. I’m going to guess that since sage loves sun they’ll probably look leggy and pathetic. But I’m still going to give it a go. I can always dig up the seedlings and take them out to the balcony in April or May.

For the nasturtium and sensitive plant seeds, I soaked them in hot water (then kept the water bath warm in the yogurt maker – Boy this thing is handy for many things besides making yogurt!) and then planted it after 24 hours. I hope they grow since I’ve read mixed reviews on germination success. The sensitive plant is a weed I used to play with as a kid and I’m growing it because I’ve wanted one for a long time. They are fun to play with. When you touch their leaves, they close up.

And nasturtiums are for my outdoor garden. I’m germinating them now but I’ll move them outside mid to late April. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted their edible leaves and flowers before and I’ve been curious. They’re pretty too.

So that’s it on the update so far. I’ll have more soon on succulents, zz-plant and the sansevieria I hope.

Nut allergy begone!

I was probably in middle school when I first tried pistachios and they were so good. I ate cupfuls in one sitting. For some reason, I didn’t eat them again for about a year and when I had some the next time, my mouth itched, my lips swelled a little and my throat itched. So I ate a few more because they were good, and then stopped because itchy mouth. Every so often I would try them again just to see and it would still itch. Nothing terrible, just not pleasant. Somebody told me I’d better stop eating them or I’ll get a bad reaction. So I did. And all this time I thought I could never have pistachios. Sad face. Well, I’m happy to report, I just ate a bunch of pistachios now and I’m fine. Go fig. Nut allergies are supposed to be serious but in my case, it came and went.

Happy Vernal Equinox!

It’s Spring! ┬áToss the coats and hats! The longer days are exactly what the garden needs. Which brings me to my annual balcony garden update. Like that segue? I have gardens and plants on the brain. Anything I talk about will lead to that topic. Anyway, as crappy as the balcony is with generally insufficient sunlight, I just can’t not put something in my piles of dirt. They call out to me every Spring.

Up until this crazy sub-freezing winter, the oregano had survived winters. The mint, kicked it again too. The chives survived, surprisingly. They’re growing very well. I got some Thai Basil from the market which I hope to root and grow from the stems. I know they like sun, but eh, worth a try. They’ll do well until the Summer Solstice at least. I’m not sure if I’ll grow oregano again this year.

One new plant I’m trying to grow is the nasturtium. They have edible flowers. I’m starting it indoors.
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This is a paper bag with dirt and 2 halves of toilet paper rolls with dirt. There are nasturtium seeds in there but I’m not sure if they’ll germinate because they’re a few years old.

This was the weather today by the way.
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It snowed for a good part of the morning. And it’s freezing cold at night. Brrr… March came in like a lion. Did a little lamb. Then went full on lion again.

The Beans

Adzuki died first, about month ago. I used to joke when we fed them that he was so slow at getting the food, that we had a failure to thrive situation going on with him. Pinto on the other hand seemed to eat pretty heartily. Until Adzuki died. Then he seemed sort of despondent. Hid away often. Ate less. And then he too died about a month later. Sort of like Where the Red Fern Grows.

Our tank is empty again, except for the industrious hermit crabs. We miss the Beans.