Monday, July 31, 2006

Both beautiful in their own way

Biked to work today. 50 minutes. Took a less obvious route, felt safer and did not take any longer. Will sleep well tonight.

Picked 2 more PN figs. 2 ripe lemon boy, 1 small ripe cherokee purple.

Should be doing homework right now, there is enough of it. Is it possible to call in sick kwhen you are not on the clock?

Found a home for one of the big Hardy Chicago fig trees - a coworker who was born in the Near East. I hope that she likes it. It's hard for me to give them up after raising them for 6 months, from a little twig to a sturdy looking tree.

The lilies make it nice to be in the yard in the evening. Better than what the dogs leave there.

Petite negri fig has yielded 6 ripe brebas so far, and expect about 6 more. If the main crop makes it to fruition, that could mean dozens.

Brown Turkey has about 2 dozen main crop.

Brunswick has one breba which is starting to ripen, and a couple dozen main crop.

All-in-all, I'm very happy about the potential for this year's figs. They are finally starting to yield.

Will try to find an interesting link of some sort. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ning and his Apple Tree

Unwatered grass, so it's dormant. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Frog in compost bin

A bit blurry, but it's the best that I know how to do. This frog and some green frog friends has been hanging out in the compost bin for a few weeks.

I havent had a close enough look to see if these frogs are 'mutants' - but given the concerns about effects of pesticides on frogs, at least they have a pesticide - free yard here. Posted by Picasa

Now we get to eat them

Tomande, Sungold, and a few others. Plus some Japanese eggplant.
Look at all of those figs.
Mixed up together - Northpole apple, a cucumber, and a bunch of other things. The lilies are very fragrant. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

Bike Route and Comments on BIke Commuting.

There are probably better maps. This one is from the Clark County page of the WA State bike site.

I tried to map out a route from home to the Kaiser Interstate campus in Portland for an appointmnet today; maps were not detailed enough to come up with a safe and reliable route. Tried Barnes & Noble at Jantzen Beach & didn't find much either. The problem is getting across the Columbia on the I-5 bridge (I know it can be done, there is a path) then probably to the light rail line from Jantzen Beach. Once on the light rail, the rest is easy.

Most of the bike info at the book store was about touring, not commuting. Same as most of the bikes & accessories. I dont need 30 speeds and ultralight frame. I dont need trail-quality shocks and super rugged frame, either. I need low maintenance, reliability, simplicity, comfort, and a moderately resilient frame. It's difficult to find that combination. Also, a simple way to carry work papers and clothes/food for work (a small covered Rubbermaid bin and bungi cords seem best for that purpose)

One of the most important parts of bike commuting is planning ahead. Since I ca't ride in work clothes / cant work in bike clothes, it means either carrying clean clothes to work, or storing some there. I don't get to leave work for meals, so there is also a need to keep food at work. (Even if I could leave, the local fare is McDonald's and similar ilk, expensive bad nutrition). So, on driving days, I carry clothes and food. I have a refridgerator in my office to store a few days of food. If there are meetings away from my usual work place, I'm stuck - I have to drive. If I work split location (part day one location, part day another), then I have to drive.

My estimate is that I can bike 2-3 days per week. I used to go in on my "day off" to work, but now have a home computer connection and can telecommute on those days (no commentary here on the issue of working on my "day off" and how I feel about that). So, about the best that I can do is reduce driving to 1-2 days per week - still, not bad.

Anyway, the route from home to work has a number of alternative streets, and this is a start at putting some variety into the commute.

I will try not to fall off and break any more ribs.

I agree with the legend below. Stay away from brown areas and be very careful around red. Mostly I stick to blue and green.

Blue = high bike level of service.
Green = moderately high bike level of service.
Orange = low level bike level of service, requires skill.
Red = Caution area.
Brown = failed bike level of service, use extreme caution

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It is hard to be patient right now...

Tomande - I'm not sure- should it be red or orange?

LemonBoy - almost there.

Petite Negri... where is that beggar's robe? Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 24, 2006

If we don't change our direction we're likely to end up where we're headed.”

(Title line from a Chinese Proverb)

Rib is (mostly) better. Wrists are less painful. Tires are pumped. Water bottle in the fridge.

Beautiful morning for a bike ride. 55 minutes to work. Stayed away from traffic. Excellent start back to riding.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Too Impatient

This is what I was supposed to wait for - a neck for the hangman, a robe for the beggar, and a tear for the penitent (Condit). (Does it need to be this morose?)

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Here is the first Petite Negri of the year. I didn't give it enough time to ripen - it was droopy ( so did have the neck for the hangman) and starting to soften, but few scratches in the skin - "robe of the beggar".

As soon as I cut it into halves, I knew - not dark red like last year. Pink. It was sour, not sweet. Like an unripe strawberry.

Will wait longer for the next figs.

Ancient Egyptian Grape Arbor

As long as we are on the topic of growing fruit in ancient Egypt, we can add some interesting information about grapes. According to this website, Grapes were grown as a stone age crop in Europe, and the ancient Egyptians grew grapes for wine. Certainly, grapes are a biblical crop.

If I was prepared to limit myself to a "theme", it would be fun to grow "ancient" crops - but would that leave the tomatoes? No can do. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fig Illustration from Ancient Egypt, in Condit's Fig Monograph

Posted by Picasa "Illustrations of tree and fruit of the fig are found on monuments and tombs of ancient Egypt. [This illustration]... represents a fig harvest and, as LUDWIG REINHARDT(1910) states, lobed fig leaves are clearly recognizable. Three monkeys(Cynocephalus ursinus) are feasting on the figs and two men are harvesting the crop. EISEN (1930) regarded the figs... as belonging to Ficus pseudo-carica of Abyssinia, a species bearing fruit much inferior to that of F. carica" Quoted from the above reference.

The entire monograph contains a wealth of information about the history, horticulture, and biology of figs. This is the single most respected work of "fig science". I became aware of this link from postings in the Gardenweb Fig Forum, and it is on the Cornell agricultural school web site.

Re-printing from the figure legend (since it is difficult to read here): "Picking figs in Ancient Egypt (Scene on west wall of grave No. 2, Beni Hassan, 12th Dynasty, 2500-2400 BC..... The vignette... shows an Egyptian peasant offering to the sycamore [fig]... The sacred sycamore here stands at the end of a field of corn, and would seem to extend its protection to the harvest... "

Some additional information on the sacred sycamore fig of ancient Eqypt is available here.

Figs in Ancient Egypt

Another Illustration of a fig tree from ancient Egypt, from Condit's Monograph Posted by Picasa

This "Vignette has been reproduced from the same source, it shows an Egyptian man and wife seated in front of the sacred sycamore [fig] and receiving the bread and water of the next world." (quoted from the monograph)

Overwintered Geraniums - Comments on the value of doing (almost) nothing.

Over the past few winters, these geraniums were brought into the garage in the early Winter, left until Spring, then carried outside again. The garage doesn't freeze. Advance preparation amounted to moving them into a rain-free location outdoors for about one month prior to being brought indoors. By drying out in the cool weather, dormancy was induced, and they did not grow tall and leggy in the dark.

Each year they grow larger, with more leaves and flowers. In the past, I did not like the scent of the geranium leaves, but now I like to rub them between my fingers & inhale the scent. They are earthy and spicy at the same time.

Around the yard, there are quite a few plants that have survived and grown, for up to five Summers now, including some additional geraniums, Fuchsias, and several fig trees (which might have survived outside). A heliotrope that I did not intend to keep survived by the same method, simply because the container was moved into the garage while cleaning the yard. The peppers that I did this with did not survive.

Another plant which survived the past 2 winters, with almost no effort, is a "night blooming cereus" - Epiphyllum oxypetalum grown from a cutting from a coworker, that sits in a window without water for the winter, and brought outside in the summer. This plant has a half-dozen buds on it now, so it will probably bloom in a few weeks.

Since these plants are in containers, overwintering did not even involve digging them up. Keeping them from one year to the next is actually less effort than buying new ones in the Spring - which would involve shopping, driving (OK, a multipurpose trip to a discount store would not involve additional driving, but the point is still valid), spending money, and usually buying small plants that take a couple of months to reach full size. Discarding them involves putting them into a waste container to be hauled away. It is less effort to keep them for the following year.

In addition, these geraniums provided cuttings that yielded additional plants with virtually no effort - a little pruning, remove the lower leaves from the trimmings, and put into the soil in a sheltered spot; most took root and grew without any separate watering, potting, or other interventions.

So, by doing almost nothing - just some puttering - these plants survive the winter and become bigger each year. Posted by Picasa


Missed this one with the other "blushing beauties" - Tomande, a hybrid with Marmande as a parent.

Second handful of cherry tomatoes didnt survive 10 minutes off the vine today. Posted by Picasa If last year is an indication, there will be a handful every few days, then kaboom - big platters full.

Today's "puttering meditation" involved tying up tomato vines; pruning extra shoots ("suckers"). The 3 remaining 1-year old ginkgo seedlings (pictured elsewhere) - are in new soil - they were looking puny, s. Their roots are minimal, but so is the top growth. One of the fast-growing Hardy Chicago fig trees is in a larger pot now so that it is less likely to overheat in the August sun. A nonproductive gooseberry (3rd year, almost no berries - not enough room for that kind of performance - or is it poor-form-ance - here) is now finding a new role as a layer in the compost bin.

It's too hot today for the dogs - they are laying around looking weary. Keeping them in the house where it's cooler, plenty of water.

Friday, July 21, 2006

More Fig Trees July 21 2006

Brown Turkey.
close up of Brown Turkey.

"Vancouver Brunswick" tentatively identified Brunswick.

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Figs July 21 2006

White Marseilles (in container - one little fig!)
Petite Negri - The black ones are brebas starting to ripen.
Another "PN" - I think this was from Wayside and is really a Negronne. Bought before I learned how easy it is to grow fig trees from cuttings. If these ripen, I'll compare to the other "PN" figs.
Melanzana Cutting - there are three, one also fairly big. There are some little figs near the lowest nods - Will they ripen?
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Tomatoes are starting to blush (Is it something that I said?)

Lemon Boy
Principe Borghese
Sweet Baby Girl

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Hot day today

Learned how to post weather channel's current temperature on the side bar.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Petite Negri main crop and some breba figs

I can almost taste them (maybe still a month away?) Posted by Picasa

Bees like lavender

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Hardy Chicago Cutting with "SquirrelGuard"

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The "Squirrel Guard" works quite well but can be noisy at times. Also, it frequently emits a foul odor.

Three are 2 tiny figs on the lower nodes. Maybe ripe by October? The leaves at the top are big enough to make into fig leaf aprons (ie, Garden of Eden).

Liberty Apple (with kitty) and Jonagold (with Ning)

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