I’m Back Online!

Did you miss me? No, don’t answer that. I was offline for a (much too long) time while my laptop was repaired. When I got the laptop back, I couldn’t log into my dashboard or cPanel or AMP. After trying numerous combinations of usernames and passwords, even though I was darn sure I knew what it “should” be, I gave in and sought help from the hosting provider. The Helpdesk type person was very patient and, well, helpful. He went through a number of possibilities, verified my identify multiple times (for which I’m grateful), and within 20 minutes had me back on my dashboard.

Then the screen dimmed as if operating on battery, and I realized the rabbit had nibbled through the laptop cord while I was focused on troubleshooting the blogs. At this point, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I laughed. There may have been tears, but hey, I laughed. 

First world problems, indeed. When I went to the computer store to buy a new cord, I had a chance to tell the folks there about the problems I’d had. Bookmarks were fine, usernames and passwords not so much. Clerk/techie nodded thoughtfully.

Meanwhile, I did get into the dashboard for A Mother’s Garden of Verses early this morning. I posted an encore, one that unfortunately is very relevant today.

Read and enjoy. It’s good to be back online.

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Shoes and Rabbits – Some things never change

Here’s an old post from one of many college dorm moves. We were grateful to own a reasonably big minivan for these occasions.

The pile begins.

The pile grows…

…and grows.

Can I bring my rabbit?

Sorry, no more room. It’s either the rabbit or your shoes.

(Just kidding! The rabbit stayed home.)

Now, back to the present day. La Petite lives in an apartment with rabbits AND shoes.

Shoes! Slippers! Boots!

She still manages to keep them in a relatively small space. There’s still room for the rabbits.

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Why Doesn’t my Garden Grow?

Three major section of my raised beds are growing nothing but weeds. I have a few theories, but I’m not entirely sure. I’m hoping to narrow down the possibilities so I can figure out what to do about the problem.

Suspect number one: poor seeds

  • The basket of seeds got soaked when I left it out overnight. I successfully dried the packages, but did I manage to destroy their viability?
  • I like to stock up during late season clearance sales. The seeds I used could have been old.

Suspect number two: feathered and furry creatures

  • Birds! I suspect cardinals in the demise of my butterfly garden seed mat.
  • Chipmunks! Or chipmunk! Darn thing slips through the tiniest gaps in the fencing, and I find holes all over.
  • Rabbits? Not likely this time. The wire fencing is pretty good.

Suspect number three: random environmental influences

  • Seeds planted too late
  • Weather – too hot
  • Weather – too cold
  • Weather – too wet
  • Poor soil – doubtful. Treating my soil with compost, etc., would take a number of posts. The green “walking” onions around the edges are growing beautifully, too.

Incidentally, the pallet garden and the various containers are doing very well. Herbs, mainly, along with a few leafy edibles and flowers, all thriving. The rest? I’ll keep trying to make it work. Promote growth. Plant something that comes up, already.

Readers, suggestions? I have a gauge for testing soil pH. I might try that. What else do you recommend?

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Last Week of School – encore

Years ago, when I was still teaching in a traditional classroom, the chalkboard provided all kinds of opportunities. My fourth graders loved to create their own drawings with this simple medium of chalk on chalkboard. This one went up on a muggy, drizzly day. The blurry writing in the middle states, “Rain, rain, go away!” Earlier in the day it said, “Rian, rian, go away!” until someone more astute took eraser in hand and played editor.

 Over the weekend, La Petite came with me while I cleaned up my classroom. This was the work of La Petite, age 21, art minor, in colored chalk. 

In truth, the wild bunnies eat my vegetables more than they do the flowers – with the exception of the coneflowers last year. The flowers in this picture lasted longer than the coneflowers did.

Note: the plethora of encores may be due to the fact that it’s the last week of school and any creativity of my own is getting poured into progress report comments. 

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Just another plastic bag of produce.

Sometimes I have to help the grocery store cashiers when I’m buying bunny food. Red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, or Romaine. Curly parsley or cilantro or maybe even flat leaf (a.k.a. Italian) parsley. On my way home yesterday, the cashier and the staffer bagging my purchase needed more help than usual.

I almost, not quite, but almost felt sorry for the cashier. She seemed new at the job. I suspect she has a hearing loss, too. Trust me; I recognize my own hearing-impaired behaviors when I see them in someone else. But where were we? Oh, I was checking out at the small grocery store on my way home from school.

The woman ahead of me in line was buying a six pack of bottled water. The bottled water ended up in a plastic bag. Huh? Put a sticker on it, people. I mean, really.

So I came in prepared; I handed over two cloth bags I always carry in my purse for times like this. Between the bunny food and hamburger buns, two bags should have been sufficient. But then, nothing seemed to go the way of “should” on this trip. First of all, my cloth bags didn’t make it to the end of the checkout right away; they got tangled in with the plastic produce bags. The first bags of lettuce ended up in a store plastic bag anyway.

While that was happening, I was distracted by a clueless clerk. “Is this kale?” “No, it’s parsley. Curly parsley.” She rang up kale. “Excuse me, that was parsley. Curly parsley, not kale.” Oops! She fixed it. And then – “Red leaf lettuce?” “No, it’s Romaine. That’s red leaf, coming up next.” She rang up red leaf. “Excuse me, that was Romaine. The red leaf lettuce is there.” I pointed. Ugh. She was lucky Chuck wasn’t in the checkout with me. He would have identified everything else on the conveyor for her. “And those are carrots” is his favorite line when faced with produce identification problems.

Finally, when I could look down toward the bags, I realized she’d packed my two bags with a few items, a store plastic bag full, and was reaching for another store plastic bag for two small packages of cookies. It was right after school, people. Don’t judge me. Sometimes a teacher just needs cookies. This was really ridiculous, though. I ended up bringing home way more single-use plastic than necessary.

Next time I’m stopping at the nearby grocery on my way home, I’ll avoid this particular pair of employees. If I have to deal with them again, I might react badly. And by badly, I mean I might loudly announce, “That’s curly parsley. That’s red leaf lettuce. That’s Romaine. And that’s celery, by the way.” Or I might glower at the  person bagging my groceries in twice as much plastic as needed. Growl.

If the produce is problematic, maybe the solution is to just buy cookies. Cookies might check out smoothly. Well, they “should”. However, we all know that “should” carries no guarantees.

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I Have My Voice Back!

It’s been a long, long week or two – so long that I’m not sure how many days I’ve been waiting. First, my laptop went into the shop to have malware removed. In the process of the malware-ectomy, Chrome was also removed, including all of my bookmarks. Most of my bookmarks are fairly easy to recover. One, however, wasn’t.

The dashboard to Compost Happens eluded me. I looked and I searched, and I searched and I looked. It wasn’t on the laptop; it wasn’t in a book. With apologies to Dr. Seuss, of course, for the loose rhyming pattern. 

I found my way into our hosting provider’s web site, then into our AMP (Account Management Panel), and from there into the cPanel.for our account. None of the links were direct, but I had enough at my fingertips to know I could get here from there. A short chat with someone in IT, and I had it.

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, COME ON!!!

What should I post first? A rabbit, of course.

A Rabbit in a Sweater

A Rabbit in a Sweater

La Petite’s bunny, Sadie, wearing the latest in rabbit fashion – a sweater made from a Muk-Luks leg warmer. Perfect.

Ah, readers, it’s good to be online again.

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Garden: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The good: Garlic is growing well.

The bad: Garlic isn’t full grown yet – no bulbs of multiple cloves.

The ugly: The onions nearby are too small, but seem ripe.

Good: Lettuce is starting to look good!

Bad: Spinach is notably absent.

Ugly: Broccoli has gone AWOL. Bunnies?

Good: We have a family of bunnies in the backyard!

Bad: The bunnies found their way into my peas and beans.

Ugly: We have a family of bunnies in the backyard!

Good: Baby raccoons are cute.

Bad: In a group, raccoons can open the compost bin.

Ugly: The neighborhood raccoon family thinks my compost is lunch.

Good: We have several farmers’ markets in my neck of the woods.

Bad: There’s a bad?

Ugly: A poor garden yield may drive me to the markets more often. More Often? I already go to at least two a week! This could be fun.

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Beast – an encore

Have you seen this Monty Python movie? This character was our first pet rabbit.


Here’s a photo of the celebrity in our family — the Beast Like No Other, acting protective of his friend Tiny. In reality, this big bunny is the mellowist, most relaxed rabbit around. He uses his big teeth only to gnaw on carrots and broccoli.

That’s Tiny Bunny pushing his little face in the way so he can be in the picture, too. Both of these furry sweeties made awesome memories at the O.K. Chorale.

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The Garden Begins!

The magic date for planting in my zone usually falls on Memorial Day. The forecast has been cooperative lately, so I started quite a bit already. I’m waiting a few more days with the tomatoes and peppers; they didn’t start well from seed this year. Better soil or better starter pots might be the answer – next year. For now, they get a little more time in pots on the deck before I measure the grid and insert the seedlings into the soil.

Square foot gardening gives me a lot of food in a relatively small space. So far, I’ve planted lettuces, spinach, parsley, peas, broccoli, and root crops: carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips. It sounds like a lot – and if all of it comes up, there will be a lot of fresh vegetables around the O.K. Chorale.

The plot behind the new garage is restarting, really. I have a small parsley bed back there (bunny food!), and the raspberries are coming back nicely. In a year or two, I’ll have a significant raspberry patch again. I(hopefully!) protect the seedlings from the wild bunnies.

The onions and garlic that I planted last fall are coming up well. I finally figured out which was which, too. The garlic is almost ready to harvest. I’ll definitely do this again next fall: plant the bulbs, and then let them lie dormant during the winter and grow as soon as the ground thaws in the spring.

I just heard a grizzled old off-grid guy on television say, “When you live this isolated and off grid, there are two seasons: winter and getting ready for winter.” Here in the city neighborhoods, we do some of that preparation. I don’t need to chop wood, but I do grow and can and freeze a lot of goodies during the “Getting ready for winter” season. The big difference here is how relaxing and enjoyable the prep time can be.

Pictures, you ask? Later. I promise.

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The Great Bunny Rescue – encore

A Facebook friend posted this warning: Live Easter bunnies are not a good idea. It reminded me of spring 2011 and the night La Petite got a phone call from a friend’s mother. The point of the call: five domestic rabbits needed help.

When La Petite’s phone rang, it was the mother of a friend. She and her youngest two children had come across five domestic bunnies that had been abandoned at a construction site near a local bike trail. They went back with lettuce and a large box, lured the furry ones, brought them home, and called The Bunny Whisperer, a.k.a. La Petite.
We knew what to do, so Chuck and I joined her. We gathered two cages from our basement with litter, hay, and pellets for each. La Petite knew where we were going, so she drove. When we pulled into the driveway, Friend’s Mom and two kids in pajamas led us into the garage where she’d set the box.
Five full grown domestic rabbits were in the box. Two were harassing the others, so Chuck picked up those two first and looked them over closely. “Yep. Boy bunnies. Let’s separate these from the others.” We put the two males in one cage and the three females in the other, and they calmed down significantly. All five started to nibble on the hay and pellets, and they even found the corner with litter and used it appropriately.
Four looked like they may have been related or from the same litter; the other was a lop-eared character who didn’t resemble any of the others. He was either a major case of recessive genes or was unrelated. Cute, though. They were all cute, even though they were incredibly dirty and smelly from their adventure and trauma.
We left them settled for the night, and La Petite made arrangements to help Friend’s Mom take all five to the Humane Society the next day. When they delivered the bunnies, La Petite reported to me that all five looked cleaner and they were eating well and (are you sitting down?) at least two of the three females were pregnant. We were further appalled.
We’ll never know why the owners dumped the bunnies. Maybe realizing the males were mature was too much to handle. Getting them neutered could have been too expensive. Maybe the owners realized that not only were the males mature, but the females were expecting. If five bunnies are too many, five plus two litters of babies would be overwhelming.
The girls, getting a little attention
I still don’t fully understand, though. La Petite and Friend’s Mom brought the rabbits to the shelter. The previous owners could have done that instead of dumping them. Pet rabbits are not equipped to survive in the wild. They don’t know what to eat, and they’ll be eaten soon because of their lack of camouflage. With their domestic coloring, they’d be hawk bait before long. The little albino in particular would be easy prey for eagle-eyed predators – and I do mean eagles.
La Petite was pleased with the people and the set-up at the shelter. Rabbits and other small animals were kept a significant distance away from dogs and cats and in a separate room. She said they looked clean and well cared for. We wished we could have done more. When cash flow is a little easier, maybe we’ll make a donation. We’re grateful to have a Humane Society in town. We’re also grateful to know people like Friend’s Mom who thought it was important to rescue these animals when they were homeless and in danger.
The Boy Bunnies

We’re grateful we’re able to make a good home for our pet rabbits: Buttercup at our home; Krumpet, Biscuit, and Sadie at La Petite’s apartment. We love them dearly.

 

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