Saturday, June 25, 2005

Saturday Garden Blogging

Two weeks ago we finally got around to buying some flowers and plants. In past years I usually did this in May, but I guess I was just somewhat lazy this year. Anyway, I drove down the street to The Growing Place (Aurora branch). It is actually within walking distance, but lugging home several plants and a big bag of potting soil would be rather difficult, so I drove. Laura stayed home to be ready to haul the dogs away in the event of a showing. So I had free reign at the gardening center, which is always fun. Laura doesn't really get into the gardening thing that much anyway.

I bought:
  • A full flat of impatiens for the two hanging baskets out front ("Accent Sunrise Mix," a mix of apricot, orange, salmon, and white flowers). We planted the extra ones in small pots for the front porch. I've always gotten good results with impatiens on the porch since they like the shade.

  • A gerbera daisy for a pot out back ("Festival Scarlet with Eye")

  • Two basil plants for a cedar box on the backyard picnic table ("Greek Columnar Basil"). We plan to use this one for cooking.

  • Two spearmint plants for a cedar box on the picnic table. We use these for cooking as well, although they probably get the most use in iced tea.
This is similar to the last few summers, with the notable exception of tomatoes, which I used to plant in pots. Since the house is currently on the market, we will probably not be here in August when tomatoes would be ready to harvest. I'm going to miss the homegrown tomatoes this year. I don't have an actual in-ground garden, so I would always plant them in pots, which actually works quite well.

We planted everything in the hottest part of a hot, humid weekend. Ugh.

Anyway, the plants have all done great the last couple weeks. I took pictures the day we planted everything and again today, just two weeks later. The herbs have grown quite a bit, despite the fact that we've snipped off a few leaves to use already.

The gerbera flower, close up:
Gerbera flower
The full plant:

The basil today:
The day we planted it:
Basil plant

The mint today:
The day we planted it:
Mint the day we planted it

Hanging basket today. I find it hard to get a good angle to photograph these:
Impatiens in Hanging Basket
The same basket the day we planted the flowers, looking a little scrawny:
Impatiens the day we planted them

This is the flower from a potentilla plant we have in a large pot. We've had this one since the first summer we lived here (2001). One year it looked pretty much dead, with just one branch still hanging in there. It then recovered and has been doing great ever since. Two weeks ago it was covered with these little yellow flowers.
Flower on Potintilla plant


Well, I've been a blog slug lately. Haven't posted in weeks. I don't have any great excuses. Busy with work, busy waiting for the house to sell, busy wasting time watching television. I did go on a short business trip this week, which is somewhat unusual (the last time I traveled for work was eight years ago).

Laura posted today complaining about the summer weather we're having. Yesterday afternoon around 4 I checked the current weather at

  • In Oak Brook (where I work), it was 96 degrees and humid.

  • In Aurora (where I live), it was 95 degrees and humid. (yeah, that one degree makes a huge difference!)

  • In Missoula (where I will live...once we sell the house) it was 75 degrees.
And people ask me why I want to move to Montana!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Bunny Update

Just a couple quick pictures from this evening. They are getting a bit camera-shy and skittish.

Fortunately, the zoom on the camera helped with this one.
Bunny Close Up

This one didn't want me to get too close.
Bunny in Grass

This morning I counted three of the original eight have vanished. BUT last I looked this evening, there were apparently one came back. Or I am just going crazy.

Laura has a whole series of pictures from the weekend, including one of my favorites:
Bringing This One Back to the Nest

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Imposing One's Views

In responding to this column, Andrew Sullivan succinctly expresses a view I've held for years that seems consistently lost on those so-called Christians trying to influence politics:
Secularism allows Christians, and any other religious faith, to affirm religious values, live exactly as they see fit, and avoid such moral outrages as abortion and gay civil unions in their own lives, if they so wish. All secularism does is say that as a political matter, there will be as much government neutrality as possible because the government should represent all citizens; that the Church and the state shall coexist, but independently of each other.
I will never understand those who wish to write the dictates of their religion into law. I just don't get it. To me, laws banning abortion or gay marriage are no different than laws forbidding the eating of pork because it is against certain religions. Your religion says "don't eat pork"? Then don't do so. That's your business and your dinner plate you're talking about. I don't have the right to come to your house and stuff pork sandwiches down your throat. But you have no right to turn around and tell me -- someone who doesn't share your faith -- that I can't legally eat pork.

Many Christians seem to have a victim complex whereby they believe they are being picked on if the government doesn't do special favors for them.

Even way back in the dark ages, when I went through my own fundamentalist Christian phase, I thought that some of the battles being fought were silly. For example, prayer in public schools. I never understood why Christian parents would want to grant schools this power over their children. It is all well and good when your own faith is in the majority, but what if you win, and then the demographics change? All of a sudden your community is majority Muslim and the teachers are leading your kids in prayers to Allah rather than reciting the Lord's Prayer. Does anyone believe that Christian parents would be fine with that for half a second? Then why expect Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and agnostic parents to be fine with starting the day by reciting "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name."

Both the column and Andrew's response mention abortion, which is an excellent example of how political opponents redefine words to mischaracterize their opponent's true position. Redefine "secular" to mean "anti-Christian." Redefine "pro-choice" to mean "pro-abortion." This is supremely dishonest. Once can be personally opposed to abortion while at the same time maintain that it should be legal. It is highly unlikely that I would ever choose to have abortion myself (setting aside the fact that pregnancy isn't something that is going to just happen to me under normal circumstances here). If, say, one of my young nieces came to me for advice about an unplanned pregnancy, I would probably emphasize other options if possible. Ditto for any of my female friends. To me, pro-choice means just that...choice. The choice the woman makes does not have to be abortion. It is completely consistent and pro-choice to choose one of the other options in this situation.

In other words, forcing an abortion on a woman is just as appalling as forcing her to carry the baby to term. Both are examples of "imposing ones views" on another person.

Runaway Bunnies

We've been monitoring the bunnies in the backyard the last few days. I am guessing that they were very newly born when we found them last week. They appear to be growing up fast!

On May 28 it looks like their eyes are still closed:
Baby Rabbits

Two days later, still closed. I like the way they line up facing opposite directions in this one:
Baby Rabbits Lined Up in Nest

Finally, yesterday evening we saw that their eyes had opened:
Their Eyes Have Opened!

Which leads me to the title of this post...never mind the runaway bride, we have runaway bunnies! When we checked on them yesterday evening, I noticed that one seemed to be a bit more active than the others. He's the one on the far right side of the picture:
About to Escape the Nest

Time to Make a Break for It!

After a few seconds of hopping, he succeeded in jumping right after the nest and took off across the lawn! We tried to herd the bunny back to the nest, but that didn't work. Laura scooped him up and put him back the nest. He didn't like that much and tried to escape again. Covering the nest back up with the fur and grass, then gently holding it down for a second seemed to settle everyone down.

Baby Bunny in Laura's Hand

Before all the excitement, I did manage to get a pretty close look and I'm fairly convinced that there are six bunnies in the nest. I originally though there were only four, but I got a pretty good look at them this time. At one point, I could clearly see four on top, and two more buried below the others.

The saga continued today. At one point, Laura noticed what appeared to be a hole in the nest covering, suggesting that one of the bunnies was out and about. We are being very cautious about the dogs now -- I really don't want to have to pry a baby bunny out of Cricket's mouth!

This evening I decided to go check on them. I opened the back door without looking first and was startled to see the nest already exposed...and the mother bunny there with the babies! She took off immediately. I dashed for the camera and managed to get one shot, which did not turn out very good because the flash reflected against the screen door:
Mama Rabbit!

We watched for her to come back, but she didn't. I hope she got a chance to feed the babies at some point today. I normally peer out the door to check before opening.

Anyway, here is the final picture, about an hour or so after the mother bunny took off. Everyone seems pretty calm.
After Mama Rabbit Ran Off