30 October 2006

Castanea dentata

On Friday, I received fifteen American Chestnuts (Castanea dentata) from the American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation. For a donation of $20.00 U.S.D., they will send you fifteen nuts for planting. These nuts come from 100% American parentage. The mother trees are resistant to Chestnut Blight, and the A.C.C.F. anticipates that at least 10% of the offspring will be blight resistant. For those of you who do not know, American Chestnuts were once a dominant species in eastern North American hardwood forests. Around A.D. 1900, Chesnut Blight (a lethal fungus) was introduced to the United States from Asia. Within fifty years, more than 99% of the naturally occurring trees were dead.

For more information, visit the
American Chestnut Cooperators' Foundation. The American Chestnut Foundation is a similar organization. Both groups seek to restore the chestnut to its former glory.

Where did it go?

Where did the weekend go? I had planned on planting the rest of my bulbs on Saturday and Sunday. It's Monday and the bulbs are still on my kitchen table.

Despite the lack of progress, it was still a good weekend. Sunday produced the first snow of the year. (on our farm; I had already seen some at work)

In addition, I was able to mow the weed bed-errr...vegetable garden-in preparation for tilling in the Spring.

Regarding this year's "firsts," here are the statistics:

First light frost: 29 September
First hard frost: 6 October
First snow: 29 October
First snow accumulation: ??? (2 November)

I haven't found the date of this year's last frost (I misplaced my information folder). However, I believe that it was 7 May. I do remember that it was well below freezing.

If I use the above dates, there were 151 consecutive frost-free days in the 2006 growing season.

Last Autumn, the dates were as follows:

First light frost: 20 October
First hard frost: 28 October
First snow: 25 October
First snow accumulation: ??? (in that missing information folder)
Snow on Christmas? Sort of. There was slush on the ground that morning, but it was gone by evening. It was in the 40s and rained all day...

I think that's enough weather reporting for one posting...

27 October 2006

A Hard Frost

Winter is on its way. Yesterday, I saw the first snowflakes of the season. This morning, it was 22°F at my farm. The scene was that of a winter wonderland. Everything was covered in a thick white frost, and I couldn't help but to think that this is the most wonderful time of year.

I still have twenty-four tulip bulbs to be planted. Twelve are Tulipa bakeri 'Lilac Wonder', and twelve are a variety of Tulipa clusiana ('Lady'?). In addition, I have dozens of cloves of both 'German Red' and 'Spanish Roja' garlic. Finally, I have fifteen 'Dutch Master' daffodils. I know what I'll be doing this weekend!

In regard to traditional bulbs, I much prefer "botanical" over "garden" varieties. They tend to require little maintenance, naturalize well, and look just as beautiful as their hybridized cousins. I am especially fond of crocuses, particularly Crocus chrysanthus 'Blue Pearl' and Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'. This autumn, I planted twenty-four corms of Crocus ancyrensis 'Golden Bunch'. Spring will tell whether they deserve mention with 'Blue Pearl' and 'Ruby Giant.'

24 October 2006

Another day at the office...

Currently, I'm sitting at my desk, in my cubicle, in what amounts to a long hallway with no windows. To say I'm bored would be an understatement. I was going to go home at noon today, but my boss called (ironically, from her home; she's SUPPOSED to be off of work today) and loaded me down with more papers to rearrange. So, as I wait to hear back from her, I decided to vent a little frustration.

Did God really intend for us to live like this? As a historian, it is interesting to note the steady decline in leisure time, freedom, and equality since humans stopped hunting and gathering. True, there has been an increase in both health and affluence, but I think I'd trade those things for less "industrial" stress...

...I came upon the blog RightForScotland earlier. It's the political blog of a "centre of right" commentator from Glasgow. It's interesting to read the thoughts of a similarly-aged but Scottish male. There was a lot of rhetoric in his posts, and I received the impression that he supports the kind of social and working conditions that existed around the turn of the century...

Regarding this blog, I am pulled in multiple directions. I have considered focusing on one of two areas: politics or gardening. However, I am leaning toward writing about a variety of topics (including those that I mentioned). Undoubtedly, any political commentary would alienate some readers. Still, part of the point of this blog is to vent my frustrations, triumphs, joys, and sorrows. I doubt if a direction will soon be established, and I welcome your thoughts on the issue.

23 October 2006

Gàidhlig na h-Alba

I have a number of Scottish ancestors. MacGregor, MacLaren, and Harris (Campbell) are all in my background. As I became more interested in genealogy, so grew my interest in the languages of my ancestors. For the past few years, I've been slowly learning Gàidhlig na h-Alba (Scottish Gaelic, or "Gaelic of Scotland"). Gàidhlig's origins lie in the immigration of Gaelic speakers from Ireland around the time of the birth of Jesus. By A.D. 500, Gàidhlig was established in the Western Isles and parts of the mainland. It continued to spread until around A.D. 1200, when Middle English dialects began to displace it in the Lowlands. Within a couple of hundred years, Gàidhlig was confined to the Western Isles and Highlands. Today, it is even losing ground in those areas. The number of speakers has plummeted, though there is still hope for its survival. In 2005, Gàidhlig received official recognition as a language of Scotland. There is an increasing number of Scottish Gaelic resources, and a new generation of Scots (and emigrated Scots) with an interest in their ancestral language.

19 October 2006

A day later and I still remember my password!

I haven't told my wife that I created a blog. She thinks they're "stupid" and that only narcissists have them. This may explain my fascination with them..

As I mentioned in my first posting, the Empress of Dirt's site was the catalyst for me creating a blog. I found out about it when someone in my office emailed me an electronic newsletter. It encouraged readers to visit her site "just for fun." I did (hoping to kill some time) and was inspired. I could write a whole posting about the Empress, but I'll save that for another day.

The site that came to mind as I explored the Empress of Dirt's place was Paghat's Garden. I don't know if it classifies as a blog or not, but I do know that it is "freaking awesome." I began using it some years ago (when I still lived in Texas), and have continued to use it to this day.

Dave's Garden is another great website. Are there any others that I'm missing?

18 October 2006

Entry number one.

Éste es el primer fijación en mi "blog."

Today is the first day that I have used a blog website. I've known about them for quite some time, but I've never considered creating my own. This afternoon, after visiting the Empress of Dirt's site, I decided that I'd give blogging a try.