Monday, May 30, 2011

Fishy-fish & Catch-up

It's hot. I'm not a fan. So I've been inside a lot during the day lately. When I go out, I put on SPF 70 (seventy, forsooth!) and a huge straw hat and still get burned. Screw this.

Matt's more rugged than I am (by a lot--when the apocalypse comes--apparently not on schedule--Matt's pretty much my meal ticket. If he breaks a leg or a tree falls on his head on our post-apocalyptic homestead, we're both doomed.) Anyway, he's been plugging away an extension to the irrigation system to cover the roses in the AC bed. I tapped a little more edging into the ground on the grass-n-roses bed, but otherwise I mostly sit on the patio, communing with the fishes and fanning myself pinkly.

Catalog of the Fish
A small swarm of fish, a couple of weeks ago

Speaking of fish, they've made babies all over the place, plus I bought some pretty fantails. The total (named) fish population consists of:

NEW GUYS (Fantails)
  • Fred (Looks like Bob, but with a fan tail)
  • Ginger (All white with tiny red dots at the base of her tail)
  • Myrna (All white with a red flare from fin to tail)
  • Orangina (unusual shade of fluorescent orange)
  • Safety First the Second (Safety First the First, RIP)
  • Zoro (a baby Shubunkin! With a black mask on his head.)
  • Blue (another baby Shubunkin! Mostly pale blue.)
  • The Golden Ghost (yet another! Mostly pale gold.)
  • Fiamma (all white with a red flare from dorsal fin to tail)
  • Spike (light orange with a black dorsal stripe)
  • Redtip (All white with a red fin and tail)
  • Bob Jr. (looks a lot like Bob Sr.)
  • Lyn Jr. (looks a lot like Lyn Sr.)
  • Chaplin (white with pronounced red mustache-shaped mark over mouth & dorsal stripe)
  • Pearl (solid white. There are about 5 of these. I call them all "Pearl.")
  • Penny (solid red. There are about 5 of these. I call them all "Penny.")
  • Bob (red with white splodges on underbelly near head)
  • Lyn (red with white splodges on underbelly near tail)
  • Thor (big red)
  • Big Olaf (other big red)
  • Jupiter (white with red dot on his head)
  • Drusilla (solid white, short tail. Kinda dull.)
  • Lena (solid white, long swishy tail--very glamorous)
  • Spooky (light blueish Shubunkin with a few pale gold splodges)
  • Crazy Eye (dark blue/grey Shubunkin with big dark orange splodges)
There are other babies that haven't developed a name yet, but I think this is all of the main guys.

In other news, 'Hot Cocoa,' 'Francis Dubreuil,' 'Belinda's Dream,' 'Souvenir de la Malmaison,' 'Mutabilis,' and 'Green Ice' are blooming, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. 'Mrs. Dudley Cross,' a transplant from the Brazos River bottom, has seemingly decided--after a protracted period of hesitation--to live. It was a big, mature shrub, and the catalyst(s) appear to have been (1) hooking up a watering system (2) cutting it back hard when it refused to leaf out, and (3) dousing it generously with Immunox (was starting to exhibit signs of Horrid Fungus).

Ongoing Projects

I really don't know. Heat has scrambled brains. I guess plant a few more Mexican feathergrass. Pound in some more edging. Hibernate till September. Then we can work on filling in the rest of the grass-n-roses bed and taming the AC bed.

I'm told that Texas was unusually cool and moist in the 19th century. Immigrants from Germany, Bohemia, Sweden came here and thought they'd found the land of milk and honey. They wrote their friends, "Pack your bags! It's gorgeous here!" And then the wet spell ended and the poor bastards were stuck in Texas in August.

Immigration propaganda for 19c Texas. Looks nice, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

How'd It Get to Be August So Soon?

Pastures are toasted, there have been cigarette fires on the median strips, and our "lawn" is a brown dust bowl. Apparently, we've skipped May, June, and July, opted not to pass "Go," and landed straight in August.

BAD climate! Naughty, naughty climate!

Here's NOAA's assessment of our current state of drought (we're at the pink cross of dismay, a hop, skip, and a jump away from the maroon tide of doom):

And thanks to that bitch La Niña, it doesn't look like things are going to improve till fall at the earliest.

But it is not all dust and ashes here at Chez M. This picture nicely captures a number of new developments, positive and otherwise.

  1. This is one of the few blooming roses left in the yard, newcomer 'Hot Cocoa,' a modern grandiflora that is a weird nifty combination of orange, pink, brown, and purple.
  2. We just added some Mexican feathergrass to the grass-n-roses bed.
  3. One of our lawn's many dead patches. It's so dead in the back yard that bare dirt is exposed.
  4. We really need to buy a gate to hide the working area of the yard. Ah, money. Why aren't you made of rubber?
  5. We added some more metal edging to the grass-n-roses bed, so it's looking slightly less disreputable. Still need about 11 more pieces :-(
  6. Lotus 'Mrs. Perry D. Slocum' is back! Yay lotus!
  7. New dwarf lotus 'Momo Botan' is having a rather slow start. Hang in there, little buddy.
  8. We got the waterfall going! We need a bigger pump! And we need to hide the tubing!
  9. Half the lights around the pond stopped working, and installing new light bulbs doesn't help. WTF??
Here's a closeup of 'Hot Cocoa'--the color's not exactly right, but you can kind of get the idea.

A couple more newbie roses: 'Red Fountain' and 'Wedding Cake.' And the watering system that gives them hope of survival despite La Niña.

The full list of new roses is:
  1. Puerto Rico
  2. Marchesa Bochella
  3. Zepherine Drouhin
  4. Mystery whitish rose with small flowers
  5. Green rose
  6. Wedding Cake
  7. Hot Cocoa
  8. Perle d'Or
  9. Chestnut rose
Also on the list of good things, it's Crinum powellii season. We've got them all over the place, and they're helping to fill in the void left at the end of Peak Rose. Here they're trying to eat our back stoop.

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