Thursday, 27 June 2013

Jo's Strimmer!

Because if I'm gonna be cracking puns anyway then they might as well be about the frontman of my favourite band.

So happy about this right now!  A) new toy, B) flat lawn, C) cut grass smell, D) NEW TOY!  
I found a ton of dessicated dog poo that had fallen below the horizon.  Now that the lawn is flat I should have no problems spotting it early.  

  Other things: the potatoes were overlapping the thyme and alliums, so I've put in some bamboo.  

I now have red strawberries!

The runner beans have gotten as tall as the bamboo.  

And tarred most of the roof of the shed.  The bit I've missed I'll get with a long-handled roller on the next dry day we get.  The stuff stinks and it goes on like Marmite, but that's bitumen for ya.  

And lastly I've given the lawn a good feed to help it recover from its first mowing.  

It looks so much neater for a good mowing, but more than that, doing something that's a visible change for the better has lifted me right out of the blues.  

Once more:  NEW TOY!!!

Good times.  

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Cool Organism of the Month, June 2013: Puya chilensis

I've previously been doing Cool Animal of the Month, but this Summer it's a plant that takes the prize for the most amazing organism I've seen.  It's a fucking huge bromeliad - like a pineapple on steroids - and it traps and eats animals up to the size of a sheep!  A SHEEP-EATING PINEAPPLE!  The world is a strange and wonderful place.  I guess now I'm doing Cool Organism of the Month instead.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

When Shuck gets ironic

Yesterday I got an official, confirmed offer of a place to study Biology.  I've been depressed these past couple weeks, but for some reason the prospect of furthering my education is something Shuck can't touch.  It's nice to have that, it's comforting.  Still, my furry friend has been biting down hard, with the unfortunate consequence that I've spent too much of my time moping and not enough time attending to my responsibilities.  Well, my family pointed this out today (the responsibilities thing; I already knew about Shuck) and now, well, things are getting cleaned right enough, but I feel worse for letting things slide.

In essence I am now depressed over things I did when I was depressed.  Life does work in funny ways.  Were it not so fubar it'd be fucking hilarious.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Strawberry news

  Last night a fox got into the Strawbrary by climbing over Kelly's shed and scratching in through the netting.  George, predictably, went berserk.  He couldn't get through his usual corner at first because there was a trellis in the way, so he just nutted his way through the trellis!

Give it up for canine skullmanship!

  I hear it was a hell of a fight, though I myself slept through it.  George came away unharmed while the fox was apparently quite injured, so I guess that fox won't be back in our garden any time soon.  I'll be making modifications to the Strawbrary over the next few days.  Sadly, a couple of plants didn't survive the fight.  

Meanwhile, strawberries!

Sunday, 9 June 2013


A bottle garden that has been sealed for forty years and still thrives!

On the EDL

I've just seen this article on Facebook.

  Persons unknown - but safely presumed in the present climate to be members or supporters of the EDL - have torched a boarding school with 128 kids sleeping inside.  Everybody was evacuated and nobody died, but this could well have become one of Britain's worst ever domestic acts of mass murder.

Is this who the EDL are defending us from?  Children?

  They like to think of themselves as soldiers in some kind of war for England.  A white, straight, mildly obese England where your plumber definitely isn't Polish.  Fair enough, each to their own, but do you know what?

Attacking a soldier is an act of war.
Attacking the politicians who gave that soldier his orders is an act of war.
Attacking innocent children is not an act of war.
Attacking innocent children is something else, something far worse: it is a crime against humanity.  It is genocide.  It is terrorism.

  We have this idea that today's terrorists are brown.  This is a fallacy that our politicians and journalists are extremely keen to propagate.  Terrorism however does not depend on race or religion.  Terrorism is defined by a person's actions.  The recent spate of arson attacks - which have now escalated to attempted mass murder, attempted crimes against humanity - make the EDL the most prolific terrorist organisation in Britain today.  Certainly there have been as many attacks in the news with some tenuous, alleged link to the EDL as there were bombings on the Mainland by the IRA.

  It is high time we shamed these white terrorists and rejected them from our communities!

Fuckin'... fuckin' shite!

  I have sensitive skin.  It isn't normally an issue these days because I wear all cotton and know which chemicals to avoid.  The trouble with sensitive skin though is that once it's been triggered massively by something you're then left pretty much allergic to the world until it recovers.  Sometimes though you have no choice but to suck it up for the greater good.  Loft insulation is my kryptonite but I ended up spending a couple of hours in the loft yesterday.

This is me today:

  It's on my arms, legs, and back.  My chest and neck are itching and they're gonna go in the next few days.  It's creeping in around my eyes and I'll be lucky if my face doesn't end up covered.  I've also got an airway full of shite.

  As you can imagine, everything's irritating my skin right now and I'm feeling thoroughly depressed about it.  I've decontaminated myself, covered myself in aqueous cream, changed all my sheets, excluded all pets from my room and holed up in bed with a pint of Ben and Jerry's, watching reruns of Mythbusters while I pick a movie to put on.

I had been planning to get some serious weeding done today.  FML.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Ambling around Kew again

More pics:


Bromeliad flowering
Passiflora coriacea - the Bat-Leaved Passion Flower


Goslings!  BABY GEESES!
Go near these two with a packet of crisps and they're fast on the cadge!
Albino Cichlid
Many bees on an Allium flower
Dendrobates leucomelas - poison dart frog

Pervy Names

Finally then, I've finished the long box: 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Borders and builds

Good news first: I got an interview to study Biology!

The back border is in place.

I've included a slab there so that Bill and George can still access the social hole without trampling the bed.  Hopefully they catch on.  On the right we have Heathers behind, Coleus in front:

And on the left we have another Heather/Coleus pairing, followed by Borage, Bergamot, Tarragon and two varieties of Rosemary.  I've left gaps of a foot each side of each fencepost; these gaps will be filled by Jasmines and later trellis.  

I've put a few planks on the shed walls and put nails in.  Saying I built racks is giving it a lot more than it is, but they do the job.  

I'm also halfway through building a long box with a lid, akin to a footlocker.  It'll sit along the back of the shed and house things like paints, fertilisers, my sledgehammer and other dangerous items; hence the timber being two inches thick.  It'll also double as a seat, though I'll be sure to mark it boldly with "NO DRINKS, NO LIQUIDS".  You could mix up half the shit in a gardener's shed and make dynamite, and I like having windows.  

It's purple for the pretty.  Meanwhile, the grass is getting unruly.  Dammit, I want a strimmer!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Alas, poor Mike!

  My bay tree has died.  I did all I could but the roots were too far gone.  I'm still determined to have a potted bay in my garden however, so my next Laurus project (next Spring) will be Stan.  Are you keeping up with the cinematic references here?  Stan will be a cluster of baby laurels in a large Dutch planter with a bunch of bamboo arranged in a cone.

Poor sod :(

  I love a functional garden, utility is a beautiful thing, but sometimes the beauty of a thing can extend beyond mere usefulness; a thing which has both aesthetic value and practical value is truly a joy in so small a garden.  I set out to use part of my garden to help feed my family while still providing recreational space - so far so good - but the more I look at it the more I think it'd be even better if I worked a few flourishes in.  So I'll add a frame of jasmine here, a dash of gravel or bark there.  Maybe work in some bright ground cover plants between the fruit, maybe plants that nourish the soil, some borage, some marigolds.

  So as part of the works on the house and grounds the housing association plan to change the front fence and rip out the buddleia stump and remaining brambles.  Grand, grand, but I grow Rosemary by the front gate, so I've dug it out and potted it for now.  That's Rosmarinus officinalis.  You gotta get the officinal stuff, made by kids in the officinal Indonesian sweatshop, else you could end up with any old crap that falls apart.  You might even be sold a baby Tarragon!  Never buy herbs in a poke.  Or I might possibly be thinking of trainers...

Lastly then, I'm starting work on the North border.  It'll take up the last foot of the lawn, but grass doesn't grow there anyway.  I'll be growing things like Tarragon, Bergamot and Jasmine, but also Ericas to encourage pollinators.  Maybe some Rosemary at the edges to shrub it out and gently discourage pets from legging it across the bed.  Ah well.  Here are the first nineteen plants to go in:

Yes, that's half a dozen Coleus in there.  They don't do anything but look pretty and cover ground, but this Summer I have a lot of time for things which look pretty and cover ground.  But for now, we dig!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

In Pictures: Getting organised!

More odd maths

Bear with me on this one...

If you divide A by B and then times the result by B you end up back at A.  Same score if you times first and then divide.

(AxB) ÷ B = A

(A÷B) x B = A

You can do the same with plus and minus.

A - B + B = A

A + B - B + A

At this point I'm plugging Swedish pop music, so I'm going to swap out the B for an altogether bigger number: ∞, or infinity.  Now if you divide a number by infinity then the resultant fragments of that number are infinitely small (1x10^-∞), but there are an infinite number of them.  Recombining an infinite number of any number, however small, results in infinity.

A ÷ ∞ x ∞ = ∞, not A!

A x ∞ ÷ ∞ = ?

If ∞ is divided by ∞, do we get ∞ or 1?  Either way, unless A = 1 we don't end up back at A.

Now addition.  A + ∞ = ∞.  Playground hyperbole notwithstanding, there is no such number as infinity plus a thousand.

A - ∞ + ∞ = ∞

A + ∞ - ∞ = ?

Again, if infinity is subtracted from infinity then we end up with either infinity or nothing, depending who you ask.  The point is this:

if A ÷ B x B = A,

and A ÷ ∞ x ∞ = ∞,

then A = ∞!  All numbers, following this mathematical quirk, equal zero, one, and infinity, all at the same time!  Small wonder those three numbers are so special in maths.  All numbers are infinite and all numbers are nothing, rendering maths both fundamentally important and fundamentally impossible all at once.  The universe and nature all run on the power of numbers, but the numbers themselves are irrelevant at this level.  They exist and yet do not exist.

This would be a fabulous time to experiment with LSD.