September 2005 Archives

One Major Problem With Plant Propagation


The main problem with both contemplating the future greenhouse and also playing with a bit of plant propagation is that after a short time, you start walking around eyeing plants and thinking about whether you want to take a cutting. Then you spend a lot of time thinking about how you would go about taking that cutting, which, if you are on state property, would not exactly be legal. Not, of course, that I would ever take a plant cutting on state property. But, you know, I walk around state property all day, and there are a large number of interesting plants there. And who would notice a six-inch twig missing from that fascinating maple? Nobody.

Even more insidious is the thought that you could gather seeds or spores from various plants. Seed propagation is much more iffy than cuttings, because you are relying on the plant breeding true, which it is unlikely to do. But you could get something even more weird and exciting, and thus the downward spiral begins, because seed propagators end up starting many times more seeds than the number of plants they eventually want. (This is how some of us have ended up with 30 grape vines on the side porch, not that anybody is naming names.)

Eventually, the house is just one large flat of seedlings, and outside are row upon row of small pots with baby plants in them. Roommates, neighbors, passing firemen are all recruited to help water the little darlings because the cause of all this chaos has waddled off 250 miles to the South for the winter, like some sort of low-motivation migratory bird.

This is the problem with plants.

Defying Death


Back in April, when I planted those baby grapes, I received numerous death notices from various friends who either grow their own table grapes or even have a small wine producing effort. They'd be dead within a month, some said; others gave them as long as three months.

Since that time, I have had exactly one death, and I think that one got eaten by the neighbor cat who hangs out on the side porch. I did have to move the grapes outside, because they were fostering flies and it was unbearable, and also because the damned cat was trying to eat them and getting into all sorts of trouble.

Back to Studio


After what was not entirely as relaxing a summer as I would have liked (I'd been hoping to spend it gardening, after all), I am back in school. With what feels like a ridiculously easy schedule, though I'm sure I will be more rushed as the quarter progresses.

This is my schedule (because I know you are all on the edge of your seats):

My earliest days, Tuesday and Thursday, start at nine. My latest days start at one. If it were possible with the sun shining right on my face, I could sleep until noon those days.

Of course, my late days end at eight, so that sort of takes the fun out of it.

Photographic Evidence


I was too tired last night to upload these photos, so today you get to see the results of a long day of driving.

Times Two


Since we got back to the US, my life has been a long dog-related adventure.

First we drove, deeply jetlagged, up to West Sacramento to pick up Rosie from Dog Camp. Then this morning I got up extra early and drove to Klamath Falls, Oregon, to get Goldie, the New Dog.

It was a long, stress-fart-scented drive home. I give Goldie full props for being really good natured for the whole thing, given that I just sort of showed up and took her. But every hour or so she would get terribly restless and I'd stop to give her a run around out of the car, which she really needed. She also took well to big hugs. I'm sure it doesn't help that she's just weaned her puppies and is shedding like crazy and sort of hormonal.

Anyway, she is now crated and barking her head off in dissatisfaction at that state. But she was so stressed out by the house (and learning about staircases!) that I didn't want her to go into overload. In a minute I will be joining her (in the bedroom, not in the crate) because I'm really really tired.

Actually, as soon as she's quiet for five minutes I may take her outside to be sure she doesn't need to use the yard (not sooner, or she'll learn that barking gets her out of the crate). She had a drink of water and a little bit of peanut butter, but was uninterested in dinner.

Dumber Than Rocks


I usually overestimate the intelligence of the American people. This is why I don't understand how reality TV can spawn sequels, much less attract advertisers. But I was unaware that more than half of Americans have a basic misunderstanding of some really simplistic science stuff. That's right, most Americans don't believe in evolution (or don't know, which is basically the same thing when you're talking observable phenomena). That's like not believing in gravity, which is also "just a theory" for those who failed to pay attention in sixth grade when they told us what the scientific method was and what terms like theory and law actually mean.

Maybe we should make a reality TV show called, "America goes back to the sixth grade," in which we have talented science and math teachers explain things like experimentation and statistics to the vast majority of people who apparently haven't cracked a book other than Harry Potter since they were twelve.

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