Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you all well. I struggled to think of a title to this post. There are several bloggers who do a Wordless Wednesday but I always have plenty to say. I have also done a Wednesday Wanderings but I really didn’t go anywhere with my camera but on the farm. Then another day past and it is, or was, Thanksgiving day.
I did miss another chance for a great photo and video a few days ago… A really neat whirlwind of leaves in the south end of the back pasture. It lasted for quite a while, too. GEEZ!
I did manage to get a photo of our resident villain on Tuesday. The Red-Tailed Hawk has been visiting near where the hay is stored. I have seen it several times but never had the camera. It flew behind a tree by the pond probably thinking I couldn’t see it… No doubt it is hunting for mice or voles, but it doesn’t hesitate to nab an unsuspecting small bird.
(Note: Lisa commented and said the hawk is a Red-Shouldered Hawk and not a Red-Tailed Hawk. I noticed it didn’t look like the Red-Tailed Hawk that stays in the back of the farm. The maps online say the Red-Shouldered Hawk are farther south and to the east of this area. I am not sure they stay here year around, but I have seen one of them, sometimes two, in this same spot in the past.)
I still haven’t finished cleaning out the Martin House. The House Sparrows moved in right after the Martins left and they have almost every nest stuffed full! They spend the day in search of seeds and insects but they are usually at the house in the morning and by early evening.
I did finish cutting the Cannas Wednesday afternoon and the bed is all mulched for winter now. I am sure glad I don’t have to dig their rhizomes and bring them inside for the winter. I am thinking about contacting my good friend Walley in Mississippi to see if he still has his yellow Cannas. He gave me a start before when I lived in Mississippi but I accidentally left them behind when I moved back here. Maybe he could send a few my way.
The cats always enjoy sleeping on the pile of leaves especially when it is cold and sunny. This cat has been known to sleep in some very strange places, though. He even likes to get in small boxes and flower pots just barely big enough to curl up in.
The moon looked really nice when I went to get the cows from the back pasture. The time on the photo says 4:53 PM and the moon is on its way up. A few months ago I could leave the cows in the back until about 9 PM…
A few of the cows were already waiting at the gate. I think they heard me singing or talking to myself. Sometimes, not always usually lately (which means maybe less than 40% of the time but not necessarily) they are at the gate. Sometimes, like Tuesday, a few were at the gate but walked away when I arrived while others were coming toward the gate. The calves are getting the hang of it and walk toward the gate when they hear me or see me approach.
Sometimes they are eager to get to the front pasture for the evening and I have absolutely no problem. Sometimes… Oh, I am sure you get the picture by now. 🙂
One thing I have learned is that cows are not the most patient of critters. Tuesday morning when they were waiting at the gate to go up the lane, I thought I would scratch a few of them behind the ears. The first three really liked it, but the fourth said, “OPEN THE GATE ALREADY!” Even though they don’t have hands, so they can’t make a fist, she has learned that is what the top of her head is for. She is one of the older cows and is pretty much intolerant when it comes to friendliness if she is anxious. July, however, is the opposite. I think she would stand and let you pet and scratch her for an hour.
The calves are always funny. When I open the back gate the cows, if they are at the gate, come right into the lane. If I am still standing in the lane the calves are a little hesitant to walk past me. They will stand there at the opening and talk it over first. Wednesday evening, after much deliberation, they all managed to build up the courage to go past me but one. It was the first born heifer with the completely white face. She walked away from the gate and for a minute I thought she may jump the fence. I walked into the pasture toward the Persimmon tree and she finally went in. I had to check to see if there were any Persimmons left and I found only two… So, I guess that’s it for them until next fall.
I took a few plant photos Wednesday evening then a few more this morning. The camera battery went dead and I had to recharge before I could finish.
I hope you don’t mind another long post. I could easily break down every photo for a single post…
The newest members of the cactus collection are in the kitchen windowsill. I plan to make an insert with two shelves.
A friend of mine and I were recently discussing plant markers. I told him the last ones I had bought were too small and he said he uses old mini blinds. I had one I was going to throw away, so this Wednesday morning I cut several 5″ pieces and they work great! They are wide enough to get plenty of information on them on both sides. I like putting the scientific name and common name on one side while the date I brought them home on the back. I also write down the dates when I repot them into larger pots. Eventually, the permanent marker’s ink fades and I have to rewrite. He said he uses a pencil… Hmmm…
The Kalanchoe delagoensis plantlets are still doing OK. They have grown a little but probably won’t do much during the winter. Just as long as I can keep them alive until spring… I mist them about once a week.
When I brought the cactus inside from the back porch, I just carried their table in and put it in front of the sliding door. This is not an ideal spot because they don’t receive much sun so it was just a temporary solution. Several of these were in the kitchen windowsill for two winters but they are now in larger pots.
I discovered something when I brought the cactus inside and had to re-pot a few into larger pots. Normally I don’t re-pot until the spring but I had just received my bag of pumice and was itching to try it out. One of the biggest problems I have with cactus and succulents in the winter is their soil gets very hard. I barely ever water them during the winter, some not at all but their soil needs to be loose, not hard. I think this happens because the peat in the mix drys out and a lot of the perlite has floated to the top. Pumice is similar to grit but acts more like perlite because it absorbs water. When the water is released it also adds nutrients to the soil. By repotting the cactus in the fall, their soil will remain loose throughout the winter. 🙂
The new shelf I made for the south window is working out very well. I used boards from the loft in the barn. I made it similar to the one I made in Mississippi for the kitchen window (out of old Cypress boards).
The shelves are adjustable so I could possibly lower the top two or even remove the bottom shelf. That way I could add another shelf. Last winter I just had a table here which was high enough to put some of the bigger succulents under it. The bottom of the window is only 10 1/2″ from the floor so they received plenty of sun. While cactus, for the most part, isn’t that particular about being in full sun, especially over the winter, a lot of succulents will stretch and get weird if they don’t have enough. That’s why I have to avoid growing Echeveria and a few others I have grown in the past.
For the most part, all the succulents are on this shelf plus a few cacti.
They are all doing well but I noticed some brown scale on the Peperomia obtusifolia. The Cotyledon ‘Silver Storm’ seems to be making progress with its spraying program. So far, the new leaves are scale-free. There are a few succulents that are very prone to brown scale which I have learned to avoid. Some get it a little and are easily plucked off. I keep an eye on the Crassula ovata ‘Lady Fingers’ or ‘Gollum’.
I say “or” because I bought this plant unlabeled and it looked like a ‘Lady Fingers’ at the time (I had one before). It has grown quite a lot and now it’s leaves look like ‘Gollum’. Anyway, I noticed it also has a few scale as well but they can be removed without spraying.
If you have scale and need to spray, make sure you use something that is ORMI certified and does not smell like alcohol. Neem oil may work but I haven’t tried it. I do have a product with Neem oil as an ingredient which is also certified organic that would also work. Unfortunately, the brown scale doesn’t actually fall off even when they may be dead. You have to remove them by hand or remove the leaf. You could remove the infested leaves, but sometimes that isn’t possible. The Cotyledon is really bad and even the stems have scale. I have thought about throwing it away but I couldn’t see myself doing that. I tried neglecting it this past summer, thinking it might die on its own. Well, it seemed it seemed like it and thrived… So, I sprayed.
The Huernia schneideriana is doing very well and there are new offsets coming up.
The new Stapelia gigantea is also doing very well. This plant is a cousin to the Huernia and both are Carrion Plants. Even though this one will have big and beautiful flowers, the smell will be less than pleasant…
Sedum adolphii and its Oxalis friend are doing good. Yeah, I know… This Oxalis is probably a weed to most people but I kind of like them. I don’t hardly pull any of them up in the flower beds so why wouldn’t I allow it to grow in the house? 🙂
The Kalanchoe x laetivirens is doing good, as usual, but feels a little annoyed with me right now. I removed all its plantlets so they wouldn’t be jumping into the nearby pots. There is a nice row of them along the wall behind the shelf…
There are several Kalanchoe luciae on the shelf, but this one looks the best. When I see its leaves start to wrinkle I know it needs a little water. Otherwise, no water for the succulents during the winter…
The Aloe juvenna and Kalanchoe orgyalis are enjoying the winter on the bottom shelf. Aloe juvenna are very easy to grow but need a good amount of light or their leaves will stretch. The Kalanchoe orgyalis keeps growing taller and may be touching the bottom of the next shelf before long.
Umm… Almost every plant on this table should be in the basement. Last year the Oxalis went dormant before I even brought the plants inside for the winter but this year they have not gone dormant yet. I guess I am going to have to take them to the basement anyway. The Begonias can also be in the basement but they look so good where I can mingle with them once in a while. The Begonias on the table have hardly lost any leaves since I brought them inside. They have pretty much been on the dining room table except for a few days last month. I put them on the table in the front bedroom Tuesday evening after I gave them water.
The bigger pot in the center of the table has the two bigger dormant Amorphophallus in it… So, watering the Oxalis in that pot may not be a good idea… I need this table for the cactus in front of the sliding door…
The Begonia withlacoochee ‘Brazilian Lady’ always loses a lot of leaves when I bring it inside. That’s OK, though. It will be fine. One winter it went completely dormant and came back in the spring. Well, I guess a change is in order for the name of this plant. While it is available under the name Begonia ‘Brazilian Lady’, I just found out the registered cultivar name with the American Begonia Society is ‘Withlacoochee’ (ABS #765) and it IS definitely this cultivar. ‘Brazilian Lady’ IS NOT a registered cultivar. It was registered as Begonia ‘Withlacoochee’ by someone named Michelson in 1977. Someone came up the hybrid name Begonia withlacoochee and was even listed as such in the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). Click on that link now and it will say “server error”… The cultivar is a cross between two unidentified species, one being an unidentified “Brazilian” species… So, now I have to work on the plant’s page to the right. >
The Ledebouria socialis and Ledebouria socialis ‘Violacea’ are doing quite well. I am not supposed to water them over the winter so they will kind of go dormant. I read where if you wanter them over the winter they will continue growing new leaves and not go dormant. You want them to go dormant so the new leaves in the spring will be larger and it will flower. If it doesn’t go dormant, it won’t produce flowers. Ummm… That would be a disappointment because of the reasons I bought them was for their awesome flowers. SO, I am trying to avoid watering them…
Ummmmmm… How’s that for a neat leaf? The Oxalis triangularis subsp. papilionaceae grow these impressive leaves. The color and size… Maybe I should keep this one upstairs for a while longer. 🙂
The Oxalis tetraphylla (Iron Cross) leaves aren’t so big right now… The bigger leaves died and the new leaves are small. Weird…
The Tradescantia sillamontana are waiting to go to the basement so they can sleep for the winter. I will cut their stems off once the plants go dormant and they will come up after a few months. They have done very well all summer and now it is time for a rest. They would stay awake upstairs all winter but they get really out of shape.
So, it is best
for them to rest…
The Tradescantia pallida (Purple Heart) will also be going to the basement but I may take a few cuttings first…
The Tradescantia fluminensis variegata (maybe I should write that “var. variegata”) and…
The Tradescantia zebrina will be staying upstairs for now. It is my first winter with them so I am not sure how they will do either upstairs or down in the basement. I know they will do OK upstairs but I am not sure about a stretching issue. If they go dormant in the basement… Will they come back up or will they be dead. Maybe I should take cuttings and experiment. 🙂 How else will I know?
In the other bedroom…
Well, the table in the other bedroom is experimental. I had the Callisia fragrans and Tradescantia sillamontana on this chest but grew tired of that. The Tradescantia needs to be in the basement so they can go dormant. Tuesday evening I moved the Callisia and Tradescantia sillamontana and put a few other plants here. This spot only gets good sun in the afternoon so a lot of plants won’t do well here over the winter.
I kept the smaller Alocasia upstairs because they don’t do well in the basement. When I say smaller, I mean the ones that are under 12″ tall. Somehow, when I was moving plant s inside, one of the bigger Alocasia ‘Portora’ managed to sneak in the dining room. Then, when I moved the Tradescantia sillamontana out of the bedroom, the Alocasia ‘Portora’ somehow snuck into the bedroom… Of course, I could bring up a couple of other Alocasia to keep it company. How about the biggest ‘Calidora’? It will probably touch the ceiling even with its pot on the floor.
As I mentioned earlier, the smallest of the Amorphophallus finally went dormant a few days ago. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to stay green all winter.
Ummm… Yep, this is the Ruellia simplex (Mexican Petunia) Mrs. Wagler gave me a few months ago. I know if I had have put them in the ground they wouldn’t have made it through the winter because they barely had any roots. Typically they are only hardy in USDA zones 8-11 but the ones I brought here from Mississippi in 2013 did survive at least one winter. I was surprised that Mrs. Wagler had some in one of her flower beds and happy she offered to give me a start. These will have blue flowers instead of pink like I had before. Walley Morse gave me the first start in Mississippi in the fall and I kept them inside until the next spring. So, I know they will grow in the house. 🙂 Well, they are a very neat plant and they will spread in the right conditions…
I moved the Tradescantia ‘Pale Puma’ in this bedroom on Tuesday evening even though it may well be moved to the basement. It just depends on how well it grows here. The one I had before went dormant in the basement and came back up in the spring with no problem.
The Callisia fragrans that were on the chest are now on top of the bookshelves… I think they will survive anything and anywhere. If you know someone who says they can’t grow plants, take them one of these… I have proof…
On July 12 when I potted all the offsets from the original plant, a couple were very small and I thought I had more than enough in pots. So, I threw these two smaller offsets in the yard. When I was mowing a few days later I picked them up and put them on the back porch. They have survived with NO soil and no additional water since July 12… Now you can turn me into the plant humane society for neglect. I am experimenting, but I think I am about to give in.
OK, I think I am finished with this post now. I want to get it published before midnight or I will have to edit it again. Grammarly says I have 11 errors but we have been in a little dispute over a few words. Like the words lose, loses, and loose… I used all in this post correctly but Grammarly doesn’t agree… OK, I went back and fixed the “errors”. I did mess up a few times I didn’t originally catch, some I clicked on “ignore” which is only a one time deal. You can add words to the dictionary if it is a word Grammarly doesn’t recognize (like botanical names :)). So, I teach text edit and I teach Grammarly and it likewise shows me when I screw up. Text edit sometimes jumps to conclusions but all you have to do is click on the “x” and it changes the word back and you can then click on “learn” so the word is added to its brain. If I am in doubt, I highlight the word and click “look up” and the dictionary tells me if I am right or wrong. Then if I have to install a new hard drive or need to use Firefox or Google, I have to teach again. That’s OK. Just part of life. We learn and we teach. I know if I go back over this post several more times I am likely to find something else every time. I don’t mind if you correct my grammar. In fact, I would appreciate it if you did. But you also have to recognize people from different countries spell and use words differently… 🙂
Now, I better quit. Until next time, take care, be safe, be well, stay positive… You know the drill. Just be good and GET DIRTY!