Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Greenhouse is Alive and Well

Our Greenhouse on the Grand Lawn seems to be working out fine (the "Grand" references the husband's blog livingthegrandlife).  Last evening at 5 PM the ambient temperature outside was 64 degrees F but inside the greenhouse it showed 74 degrees.  And that was after the zippered flap had been opened and we peeked inside several times during the day.

Here is a picture of the interior and where you might find at least one occupant of the Grand House reading, tooling around, or smoking a cigar...not really, but that thought has been bandied around.  There really is not room enough for two people inside these close quarters, but one or two small dogs just might wend their way there if bribed with puppy treats.

Not to be pessimistic, but I wonder how these plants will look when it gets to be ZERO degrees outside.  There are two large black trashcans filled with water under the wooden planks to give humidity, and an inch or so of bark on the bottom of the interior to help mediate the temps. Plus the walls seem to be fairly heavy translucent fabric to aid capturing solar heat. We shall see.

Yesterday was a Scrabble day with six participants who seemed to enjoy lively challenges and debate.  Here are four of them playing.

The only guy there was Allen.  He and I have been playing almost weekly for ten years.  I  have three filled out journals of  scores for each of our games recorded since 2003. Nine years' worth of scores between us.

Here is the button on my Scrabble bag:

Hope your Wednesday is going well.  I'll try to keep my whining to a minimum.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mme Ramotswe & Pumpkin Soup

Purloined from others' blogs and the Soulbrush Etsy store for a rendition of Mme Ramotswe, as well as the biblical verse that says "what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun", I bring you a post today about Pumpkin Soup.  Nothing original.  But tasty.

Source; Soulbrush Etsy Store here

You will recall that Alexander McCall Smith's character Mme Ramotswe generally went home from her Number One Ladies'  Detective Agency and made pumpkin soup for dinner.  She did it so often that it must have been tasty.  And because she was of "traditional build", I'll just bet she added cream to that soup more often then not.

So I made some pumpkin soup yesterday and felt just like Mme Ramotswe must have felt preparing this recipe, right down to her swollen ankles.  The delicious recipe was found on the delightful blog of Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse; the link to her soup is here.

So I roasted up a pumpkin and went to work on the soup.  I did add cream, which Mrs. Tittlemouse did not, so it made for a more calorific dish, but was it yummy!  I also added quite a bit of red pepper flakes and curry spices, as well as S&P.

Maybe pumpkin soup is not a new idea, but it was the best soup under the sun yesterday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How To Prune Philodendrons

Now that seems like a silly post title, "How to Prune Philodendrons", but if you get as many Google referrals as I do, you will notice that the search term "HOW TO" is ubiquitous.  (I love that word.)  People constantly search for "how to" do something.  On my Google analytics dashboard page, that term of "how to" is everywhere, so this will be a test post just to see how many hits I get from this topic of how to prune philodendrons.  (Believe it or not, my post found here on pig feet is my number ONE referral to this blog! Who knew pigs would draw such a crowd?)

So even though this mundane chore of pruning household plants might not interest you, dear reader, someone out there on the world wide web might be searching for just this topic that will make me a long distance teacher.  Here goes.

If your plants are getting leggy, with too few leaves along the stem, or if the leaves are spaced out too far apart and it looks like the stem is becoming thick, scissor intervention is necessary.  Now is the time to be ruthless, all for the good of the plant.  See how large the plant is? See the stems?

OK: now for a closer look at the roots and you can really see those legs that appear anemic, woody,  and too close together.  Tsk, tsk.

Next step: get out some new potting soil, some jars with water for sustaining your cuttings, a pair of scissors, and an aggressive attitude.

Take out the soil and plant from the pot, cut through those roots, discard the old roots at the bottom of the plant, and start your cutting.
Ensure that you have a nodule at the end with a bit of a root attached as this will help the root cutting adapt to the new soil.

Discard all the leggy runners.  Keep the shorter stems, again ensuring that a nodule is attached.  You should cut off leaves close to the nodule because you do not want any green leaf touching the water where they will stay until new roots have developed.

From just one plant, here is a picture of the salvaged leaves now in water awaiting new roots to grow.

With those stems that have been trimmed, roots longer than two inches mercilessly cut off from the main stem, they can be buried into the new potting soil.  Add even more soil to the top to ensure stability of the stem.  Here are two of the newly potted plants, looking much healthier and with more room to breathe.

From three plants I re-potted yesterday, we now have five jars of leaf and stem cuttings in water awaiting their roots to develop.  One jar is on the kitchen windowsill and the other four are tucked away in filtered light awaiting the same fate.  Maybe we should go into philodendron farming since there are so many awaiting future planting.  Would you like to adopt a jar?  Free for the taking!