Monday, November 2, 2009

A tiny owl

Fairchild had its first Bird Day on Sunday, which I deemed to be a success apart from the bird walk that started at the ludicrously early 7 a.m. (I can't do anything at that hour other than sleep.) The wildlife rehab center at Miami's science museum was in attendance with a couple of of permanent residents, a red shouldered hawk and an Eastern screech owl.

I'm sure that like me, many of the day's visitors walked right past the tiny owl assuming it was a stuffed bird. You can see what I mean from the first photo. And what a treat to see the hawk up close and personal.

Our first raised veggie bed

Here's the first of two. It's 4' x 8' and the other will be 4' x 10', and both will be plumbed for drip irrigation. They're made out of pressure-treated lumber, so the insides are lined with black plastic bags (a quick stapling job). Next, I have to line the bottom with something to keep nematodes at bay, probably newspaper, brown paper and old cotton blankets.

The designer and general contractor is Dan the spouse who insists on getting things nigh-on perfect, which is way more than I would do (and I'm a Virgo!). He thought of finishing the bed off with a 2" x 6" board to make it easier to sit or kneel, and it's a brilliant idea, not to mention it looks nice.

Anyway, I'm extremely grateful that he took it on because gardening is not his thing, except that he likes to cook so he does have a vested interest.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Going bananas

We take bananas for granted; they are, after all, only an everyday fruit. But there's a whole bunch (pardon the pun) more to them than that.

I grow a "Brazilian dwarf," which I thought meant that the plants would be dwarf, but it turns out the name refers to the fruit, so they are unexpectedly tall. I also have a true dwarf which produces apple-flavored bananas, and I'm encouraging a struggling plant that supposedly produces bananas with red flesh. I also have ornamentals, meaning the fruit is inedible, with variegated leaves of a stunning red and green.

This photo, which I took at Fairchild earlier in the week, is of another ornamental. The fruit and flowers are simply spectacular. Click on the picture to see the flower's occupant.