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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Gardener's Diary Archive: Mice on ice end up as in-flight meals, February 15, 2016

22F outside again today, so my gardening work is minimal, and indoors. Threats of snow have been just that. Still, the schools closed- ice is the greater danger in these parts- and the skies are gloomy. It looks like a partial eclipse out.

Still, by the weekend, the temp is supposed to be up fifty degrees. There's deadfall to haul out from the wooded lot and chopped before the vines and poison oak come to life, and pruning season begins in a week.

Back last summer, I wrote about vegetables you can "regrow" at home after you buy them at the store. The base of a stalk of lettuce, for example, will provide a nice crop of celery leaves you can as garnish, for example.

But the easy one is scallions. I buy a couple of batches of those and put them in shot glasses of water on the kitchen sill. They beaver away, growing rapidly and putting out more roots. Over several weeks, I can get two or three cuttings from them.

Then I plant them in pots and they draw renewed energy from the soil to pick up where they left off. I potted twenty stalks the other night, with that many more to go.

My mint pot is thriving, after a fashion. Long tendrils, with tiny leaves: not enough sun. But they grow, and as the days get longer, they will get bigger.

A couple of dozen peter peppers I have overwintered are waking up. I pruned them in October; now they are putting out vigorous new growth and half a dozen flowers have appeared. They sit in a south-facing window that gets the track of the afternoon sun.

A small indoor pot of rosemary is finally doing well after some months of dithering. It's nothing next to the two grizzled veterans in the back yard, but there is something to be said for being able to reach across my desk and get a whiff of it, or the mint, on gloomy grey days like we have had lately.

In the last few weeks, crows have begun returning to the neighborhood. I believe they must be fish crows, rather than the common American crow. Once a coastal denizen, the fish crow has moved inland over time in North Carolina, but retain a migratory habit. We've had none all winter, as I realized when I looked up and saw the old familiar murder in the front yard. "Ah, they're back. Ah, they've been gone."

Today's new guest was a red-shouldered crow, perched for a good five minutes on a bowed tree in the wooded lot next to the house. He's the 31st species sighted in my little corner of the world. It was a bruiser, too. Mice and squirrels, beware!

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