Part Of My Backyard Garden

Part Of My Backyard Garden
July 25, 2013

Monday, February 24, 2014

Flowers in Wyoming- Indoor Seed Starting

My flowers are up and growing nicely in my furnace room hot house. One week in the soil mix and 70 of 72 cells have nice growth. These are most, not all of my colorful annuals and in the flats now are : Pansies, Petunias, Rudbeckia, Coleus, Snapdragons and Corn Poppy. If they get too big, I will repot, but I rarely have had to.

Today I started some hollyhocks and on the first of March, I will start Onions and tomatoes. Speaking of tomatoes I will put three or four cherry tomato seeds in a big patio pot today or tomorrow.

 Below is one of my two flower flats after one week.

 Spring can't be too far away, but just in case the Blue Spruce are showing a little winter color for us to enjoy.
Wyoming Blue Spruce Winter 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wyoming Wind and a Plug Hat

Wyoming Wind and a Plug Hat

Bill Nye, my all-time favorite western humorist, like the rest of us who live in Wyoming often made a few unpleasant comments about the Wyoming wind. February seems to always be the bleak month in the Cowboy state. Cold and wind dominate.

 Nye entitled one of the short stories in his book, Forty Liars and Other Lies, “The Plug Hat in Wyoming,” and you guessed it, the wind is the antagonist.

Here is what he had to say –

“In the first place, the climate of Wyoming is not congenial to the plug hat. You may wear one at 1 o’clock with impunity, if you can dodge the vigilance committee, and at three minutes past1 a little cat’s paw of wind will come sighing down from the Snowy Range, that make the cellars and drive-wells tremble, and the hat looks like a frightened picket fence.”

He also plays with the idea of the hat maybe being too much of a dudes head topper to be worn in the rough and tumble 1870s – 80s Wyoming. “In former years they used to hang a man who wore a plug hat west of the Missouri but after a while they found that it was a more cruel and horrible punishment to let him wear it and chase it over the foothills when the frolicsome breeze caught it up and toyed with it, and landed it against the broad brow of Laramie Peak.

He does mention that the hats can be found as long as you are willing to travel fifteen or twenty miles, “as the crow flies,” to find it.

In the end he explains the hat of the day, the western style of hat. “Time may overcome at last the public disfavor, but until the Rocky Mountain wind is lulled to repose, so that a plug hat will not have to be tied on with a wrought iron stair-rod, the soft hat will be the prevailing style of roof.”

Bill Nye lived all too short a life (1850-1896) and unfortunately his very popular newspaper column was only partially saved over the years. Reading him today, more than a hundred years later he is still funny, no wonder he traveled the lecture circuit with Mark Twain. 
The photo is my solution to dealing with the nasty February winds. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spring and the New Garden

Must be getting close to spring. How am I so sure that spring is close? I planted my first seed flats yesterday.

Not much, only 72 cells, all flowers, petunias, pansies snapdragons and some very bright red poppies. Might be a bit early for the snapdragons but the petunias and pansies will need 12 weeks and that puts me to the middle of May. As for the poppies, have had a tough time growing poppies from seed in my beds the last few years. This is my first attempt at starting them in flats. If they get too big I will put them in a pot I can bring in at night.

March 1, I will be starting my tomatoes and onions. I have grown my own onion plants the last few years and I have been very satisfied with the results.

Tonight a good gardening class at the school—yep, spring is near!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Richard Wheeler - An Accidental Novelist

Richard S. Wheeler’s, An Accidental Novelist –A literary Memoir, is so well done and so mesmerizing that it seems I was with him every step of the way. Wheeler who weaves some of the very best western literature ever written is again at his best with this one.

He tells the story of his life through his journey from a, not sure this job’s for me, newspaper-man to successful author. It is a story with settings from the upper Midwest, to southwestern desert and finally home in the mountains of Montana. Wheeler, like he does in his western tails, reels in the reader from the start using his unique blend of storytelling through truthfulness, humor and historical context.

The story is also an emotional journey, from happily married through heart wrenching divorce to the lonely writer and full circle to happily married and fulfilled in Montana.

For anyone who loves westerns, wants to be a writer, is a writer, or just wants to read a heck-of-a-good book, this one is definitely for you. How good was it? As I finished the last page, I couldn’t stop and immediately downloaded the first of his wonderful Barnaby Skye novels, Skyes West – Rendezvous, and started reading. This was a novel I read and enjoyed thirty years ago, and it is still captivating. Today I believe I will download another of Mr. Wheeler’s works.

Think you have read the best western books ever? Not if you have not read Mr. Wheeler.