Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Grape hyacinths

House plants.

The non- variegated spider plant’s decided to produce an off-shoot, which means that I must be doing –something- right. The variegated spider plant is still blooming, and so are all four of the unnamed African violets. Seems that all of the latter are old-fashioned varieties, preferring to rest between massive caps of flowers, rather than flowering continuously. Which is the way I like it. You’ve got a rosette of fuzzy leaves sitting there for weeks, and all of a sudden- Bang! Flowers.

Speaking of flowers, here is one of the grape hyacinths, mentioned some posts ago.



According to the almighty Internet, one can plant the bulbs outside after forcing them. It also looks like hyacinths can be invasive. The second fact I knew already, since there’s some kind of dwarf grape hyacinth, that’s rather common in town during mid-spring. In a parking lot of one restaurant, there’s actually a patch that’s slowly but surely taking over a parking space. Like perfumy mold on steroids, it creeps onward, inch by purple inch


Animals


Basement cat was again caught attacking ceiling cat. Since the basement cat is declawed, all that she was doing was batting up an ineffectual storm. The Ceiling cat sat on his favorite footstool, and looked down at her with mild interest. He was probably wondering why these harmless, playful gestures were accompanied by howls of outrage.

To reiterate, the Ceiling cat has done nothing to deserve this treatment.


Hiking


On Sunday, I had a chance to visit with a friend from a neighboring town (we shall call the friend in question Mina, for the sake of aliases). Her and her husband own a sizeable farm, edged sideways up the wooded slopes of Appalachians. There is much pasture, and a good chunk of absolutely gorgeous (not to mention sharply angled) woodland.

The views from the upper pastures were to die-for, with crests of the mountains spanning half of the horizon, and only an occasional sign of human habitation. Within the forest, oaks and pines mixed with tulip trees and an occasional cedar; some of these provided support for wild grapes and poison ivy (I’ve never before seen a poison ivy trunk that was as thick as my arm. Those things are scary), as well as what I later identified as catbrier . Hollies and rhododendron occupied lower tiers, along with something that may or may not have been low-bush blueberries. An occasional multiflora rose, a problem even all the way out here, made its presence ‘felt’.

There’s a fair amount of wildlife in those parts. While we saw only a few birds and the neighbor’s dog (who decided to follow us for miles at an end), there were some signs of deer damage (especially on Mina’s recently planted bushes). A ripped-up rotting tree we’ve found halfway up the slope was likely a sign of bear attention. Of course, there were also cows. One can’t have a pasture without cows. Or, how shall we say it… cow by-products.

The outing was threaded with local human interest stories, and an entertaining venture all around, that is, besides being the most challenging 3 hours of hiking that I’ve done, up to date.