Archive for the gardening Category

Taking Photos of Bees

Posted in gardening, Photo on July 10, 2011 by Mike Procario

I have been unable to ride my bike this week, since I strained my back on Monday. Margaret has been asking me to take photos of her garden. This evening I went out and for another session. Tonight, there were plenty of bees buzzing around, so I took only photos of bees on flowers.

DSC_0004.jpg

Yard Work or Photoshop

Posted in gardening on November 21, 2010 by Mike Procario

Margaret asked me to rake the leaves today. We have a nice maple tree in our backyard and two weeks ago it finally reached its maximum color. This was well after many other trees had already lost its leaves.

IMG_0434

Well it made up for its late coloring by losing all of its leaves quickly. The oak tree behind it which was losing weeks weeks ago still is hanging on to a few of its leaves.

Before

With no Eagles or Steelers games to use as an excuse to avoid work, I gathered up my iPod, camera, and rake and went out to the backyard. I took a before picture that you see below and I thought to myself. How hard would be to Photoshop the leaves into a nice pile?

After

It looks great. I left a few leaves scattered around for realism and Photoshopped in a rake. Great. However, Margaret is one of those people who will look out the window at some point before the snow can cover the leaves.  Why she does this is beyond me. I feel no need to look at the backyard. I know it is there, and it’s probably doing something that is going to cause me work. It’s better that I don’t look.

Oh, well I had to rely on my “gardening” skills rather than my Photoshop skills, which is not a good thing. I have a black thumb. Every plant that I touch turns to compost—eventually. Of course, Margaret would point out that this is a good thing for leaves. Curses, foiled again.

Bags of leavesThe final or almost final result. There are still leaves on the trees. This was only a stopgap effort. I will be out there again next weekend for some more battles with the leaves. It is too bad that I actually like our trees, otherwise I could preemptively strike against the leaves and deal with once and for all.

BTW, I noticed that the grass is still growing. Don’t tell Margaret, she will expect me to cut it.

Composting Results

Posted in gardening on July 10, 2010 by Mike Procario

This week Margaret’s back was hurting, so she got me out in the garden to do the heavy work. I told her to give precise step-by-step directions. I do not have a green thumb. I asked her what the opposite of a green thumb is. Is it a black thumb, a red thumb? Cutting the grass and dealing with the compost heap are the limits of my garden skills.

This spring we bought a dedicated rotating composting bin. We already had a compost pile behind our garden shed, and last spring I drilled some holes into an old trash can to turn it into a composter. Today I checked on all status of all three compost methods.

The dedicated composting bin has been doing well. I filled in late spring. It has all grass clippings and one load from the bunny’s litter box. The bin was full and it has clearly been composting. The volume in the bin has dropped to less than half of what it was. The hay from the bunnies was probably not a good idea. It was probably too dry. It has made a lot of progress, but it us not yet ready to be used.

I had set up the trash can last fall, I filled it with leaves, and then I pretty much ignored it.  I checked it a few weeks ago and found the top was just dry leaves, but if I dug down there was good looking compost, and the total volume was reduced by about a third.

The pile behind shed has been going for several years. It gets lots of grass clippings, some leaves in the fall, and whatever waste Margaret pulls out of the garden. It gets turned over once or twice a year. I am not a dedicated composter. The dead plants that Margaret tosses in look to be too big to break down quickly, but as I bug down the bottom of the pile I found the best compost of any of the three methods.