20 January 2009

Life in the Undergrowth

Since being in Portland, I've started up a new batch of window babies (aka House Plants) and other propagation experiments. I got a couple cuttings from my grandma, one from Clara's roommates, I found a planter with sempervivum (succulents) on Craigslist for free, and the only plants I bought were some little plants from Ikea and Home Depot. All cuttings have started to root or have started to grow, they're coming out of hibernation from the winter and there is now *tons* of life in our apartment.

I got Wandering Jews (Tradescantia zebrina) from my grandma and Clara's roommate Kenvin. The one from my grandma has wider leaves and more pronounced stripes. These rooted practically straight away!

I was able to plant them fairly soon after getting them because they rooted so fast.

You can see the roots because the bottle is clear plastic. :o)

Free from craigslist, yes, even the big glazed blue pot!

I started some garlic from bulbs that I bought at Trader Joe's. We weren't using them quick enough so they started sprouting. So, thusly, I decided to plant them. Unfortunately my mother later bestowed upon me the knowledge given to her from a large scale garlic grower. The farmer said that most store-bought garlic bulbs harbour a mold. I found this information the day before I found my bulbs breaking up and separating, this is not a good quality in garlic and means it is bad or is going that route.

These last couple photos of two of the garlic are a little like watching a cancer patient decline. It made me sad to watch them go and to pull them up but it was educational.

And these are some photos of my houseplants, they're less exciting stories and less free but definitely a departure from the plants I generally grow. These are all considered tropical and have been interesting to get acquainted with.

I bought a calla lilly growing kit (bulb, peat and pot) from Target with wedding money, which was a very grand departure, never having started anything from a bulb before -- with the exception of potato (okay, a tuber) and garlic. I had trouble with mold on the soil because I had a jar over top to keep it warm, also trapping in the moisture creating the perfect climate for mold. I then figured if I cut some ventilation vents in the bottom of the juice jug there would be more circulation. This has proved to work wonders. There is still a little residual mold dust but it no longer has a fur coat.

Healthy, healthy tuber!

Another Ikea plant, but this is a succulent (I need a succulent encyclopedia or something). It looked pretty sad and sickly at first but then it got better after a bit of TLC and it looks healthy and lovely now.

My grandma also let me have cuttings of her Christmas cactus and a little succulent (also unknown). After much time the little succulent that could *finally* put out a root. I already have the Christmas cactus in soil but the other succulent isn't quite up to it yet but in another week I think he'll be ready.

Itty bitty root!

I also start another potato and for the first time ever a tree from seed. Its an Asian pear tree, which I found the seeds inside of the pear for free (well, slightly more than free but I got to eat the fruit). It poked its head up this morning for the first time!

Alright, three major posts in a week! I probably won't post for a while with the start of school (wednesday!!) but after I get that down things will pick up again I think. I love you all!

14 January 2009

Finally: Part 2

We then got to spend a week with our friends at their house which was what we needed. Then we were off to Ohio for reception number 2 and Joel's grandma's funeral. She wasn't doing well so it wasn't too big of a surprise. It was sad and happy at the same time. People had really good memories of her to share with everyone and it felt like a celebration of Life rather than the mortal loathing of Death.

Then we went on to Bloomington, IN where we stayed with Joel's ex-roommate Edyta who is from Poland and works for Green Peace. It was really pleasant there and she was so ridiculously accommodating that she let us sleep in her bed while she slept in a cot down stairs. The house she was living in with three other girls was so wonderful, it had big windows that let in the bright sun and the living room had tons of books and plants and it felt really good and, well, like home.

Then after that we drove on to Colorado. I haven't any pictures from any of these events. The midwest is just as unfortunately boring as people make it out to be. Field after field of monoculture crops that had been turned up for winter left a barren landscape only too wretched to take photos of. Kansas, however, was so like the books of the Little House on the Prairie I couldn't believe it, again though, no pictures. And in Kansas there is an Oz winery and museum but we didn't stop.

Then on to Longmont, CO for thanksgiving. It was one of the best places we stayed on the trip to be truthful. My Uncle Matt finished their basement which now has carpet, a queen sized bed, a bathroom with a steam shower (and a regular one together) and a bar. Wow. We didn't use the bar but the steam shower was pretty fascinating and extravagant. Its a bit like a sauna but steamy. The night before we left for the Tetons it snowed a lot but wasn't so bad that we had to stay.

Then we went to Jackson Hole in the Grand Teton National Park. It was really lovely there, it definitely felt rustic and frontier-like. We stayed at a hotel called the Inn at Jackson Hole, which wasn't actually in Jackson Hole but Teton Village. They upgraded us to the next level since it was the off-season and many of the rooms weren't filled. It was cute, it certainly was themed but it wasn't too over the top. It had a beautiful view of a field and then it took your eyes up to the Tetons. Behind the Hotel was a ski lift which was lit up at night, and presumably during the ski season, was full of people. And elk!

We spent two days there then went off to Portland in search of our new home! We got the apartment that we wanted and set to making it comfy and cozy. We got everything from Craigslist free or from the Target gift cards everyone gave us as wedding presents. If not for either of them (and Marie! She gave us a table, what a wonderful girl!) we'd have an apartment with a bed, a fork and a bowl... and lots of books. We drove my twin bed all the way from Maryland to Oregon because no one would take it on Craigslist, which was a good thing because now we can't find a free double bed anyway. Oh well.

Then the week before Christmas it snowed. And it snowed for an entire week and didn't stop.

However, in spite of all the wintriness, I had my first ever "white Christmas." It was a very sweet sentiment as it was also Joel's and my first Christmas together as a married couple. I'm not going to get too mushy but it was cute. :0) We had an 8" tall Christmas tree which I'm going to re-pot soon so that next year it will be bigger and able to hold real ornaments.

Then that night we drove halfway to California, stayed in Grant's Pass, OR and then in the morning continued on to Stockton, CA to spend the next couple days at my grandma's house. We had the Conley family Christmas with all my mom's brothers and their families and it was good. Joel and I taught my family Oh Shit, a rummy card game (Hoyle's official name for the game is Contract Rummy) and we played it the three nights we were there, it was a lot of fun! :0)

This is my brother, Isaac, who looks a lot like me. He's going to school at Chapman University in Orange, CA

This is my mom and my Uncle Paul. Actually, we kind of all look alike, ha ha.

And that's about all that has to do with people. I have pictures of my plants and their progressions which will be the next post. Plants are certainly amazing things!