Rex Begonias

Angel Wing and Napolane or Snow Man

Spotted Angel Wing

I got my new begonias in the wall yesterday.  They arrived in rough shape, which I think is to be expected when live plants are shipped.  The box was a bit smooshed.

In the wall I’ve got two angel wing, two that are pale silver (Napoline and Snow man) and a couple that have curly leaf edges (Curly Annie and Curly Eyelash). There are even two that are a combination of all the above . . . okay, maybe not the Angel Wing bit, but a pretty green spotted or ringed in silver. I’ve also put two small plants that broke off from the parent in the gutter to hold them over for LouAnn’s wall.

I didn’t put all the new begonias in the wall.  Of the dozen I received I still have four in pots.  I’ll put those in LouAnn’s wall as well.

The spring of Chuck

Warming up after an outdoors foray.

I think I’ve finally got a solution for keeping Chuck relatively comfortable.  Fleas have been driving him nuts.  I had a flea collar on him for a while and that did nothing noticeable, even when  I sprayed him with Cedarcide each time he came in.  The Cedarcide helped, but it only kills the fleas that are on him and does nothing to discourage more from jumping on.

The combo that appears to be relatively effective (I hope) is a combination of Ortho’s Home Defense sprayed on the rugs (one application lasts for ~12 months), Zodiac Flea and Tick Spray on Chuck (good for ~2 months) and a quick once-over with Cedarcide when he comes in from outside.  No, I am not going to try and treat our property for fleas.  I have free range chickens and we have 12 acres.  Between the chickens and the property size, treating the outdoors for fleas is not a reasonable idea.

There remains a very small amount of scarring on Chuck’s right eye which doesn’t significantly impede his vision.  I think the surface of the eye has healed as much as it’s going to.

Drain change

Updated overflow

I updated the overflow drain on the larger bog filter tank.  I’m still using electrical conduit elbow, but it’s 1½”, not 1″.  The outlet pipe is also resized for an 1½” tee-less connector.  I enlarged the hole in the piece of perforated drain which keeps the roots from plugging the conduit.

I’ve been finding more uses for inner tube.  This plumbing change includes a piece of bicycle inner tube for connecting the two pieces of pipe together.

The only thing I wish I’d done before assembly was to paint the conduit black, but once the water hyacinth is added to the tank the leaves will hide the gray.

Pond willows

Willows in pea gravel filled pots

I couldn’t leave the corkscrew willows in the upper biofilter tank.  The hydroton grow medium is not heavy enough to keep the willows upright and in the tank when the wind blew.  I knew putting them there was a temporary solution.  Yesterday I implemented a more permanent fix.  The willows are only in the water for this summer.

The half-gallon pots have recycled window screen in the bottom to keep the gravel from migrating out the drain holes.  The willow trunks are held in place against the side of the tank frame by truck inner tube pieces and staples.  The pots are held up against the side of the tank by cord hangers over hex head screws.  Everything can be easily removed when it comes time to plant the willows out after they go dormant this fall.

Cape Primrose update

Two stalks showing and many more in the works.

Another plant showing a blossom stalk

The Cape Primrose has started it’s continuously blossoming cycle.  After the initial single blossom stalk, each new leaf will produce at least two stalks with two blossoms per stalk all the way through the summer.  Unlike begonias whose blooming period comes and goes, the Cape Primrose will just keep producing gorgeous blossoms.

The plant showing the single blossom is one of two or three.  If you click on the second image you will see a new stalk starting on another plant.  If you look closely you can see the base of the blossom stalk comes out of the base of the leaf.

The wall has gloxinia in it as well.  I don’t know if or when it will bloom.  The fun is in watching to see what happens.

New growth

I've lost one spider plant at the top. I have others in the gutter I can put in its place, I just need to do it.

The hoya is finally showing gwoth. The small leaf is new.

The wall is doing really well.  The gutter begonia is ridiculous and the floor is littered with discarded pink petals.  The flowers are appearing in a slow wave from the bottom of the cascading growth to the top.

The avocado all have multiple roots, though no stalk has appeared.  I am expecting to see that feature shortly.

The hoya has finally started to grow.  This is a very promising sign.

I got an email from Keith at Rex Begonias.  My plants should be here today or tomorrow.

I’ll be filling in some of the empty spots in the next couple days.

OMG pressure cooker barbequed pork

Our local market had pork ribs on sale.  I had just picked up my stainless Presto pressure cooker from Walmart and was primed for a meal I could cook in my new toy.  Barbequed pork ribs sounded perfect.

The book that came with my pressure cooker had a recipe for barbequed pork, but I didn’t have all the ingredients AND some of the recipe ingredients are things I can’t eat so recipe ad lib was required.  The result was FABULOUS.

Here’s what I did.

I added one cup of water and 3 pounds of pork ribs to the pressure cooker and cooked it for five minutes.  That’s misleading.  If you’ve ever used a pressure cooker, you know it takes a bit of time to get up to temperature/pressure.  You start timing from that point, not from the point where you stick it on the stove.

After five minutes I set the pressure cooker in the sink and ran cold water over it until the pressure released.  I drained off the liquid (saved it for our dogs’ dinner tonight) and added 1-10 oz can of Safeway brand Southwest Style Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles, 1/4 diced onion, 1/2 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup xylitol (birch sugar safe for diabetics), 2 tbsp maple syrup and 3 roughly chopped roma tomatoes.

After the pressure cooker came up to temperature/pressure, cook time was 10 minutes.  At this point you have to turn off the heat and let the temperature/pressure drop without any quick cooling.

After the pressure released, I pulled the pork out and reduced the sauce, stirring occasionally with my whisk.  The pork was served cubed with the sauce on top.  OMG.

With this I served oven fries.  Wadly cut two potatoes in wedges.  Ideally, 1 potato per person and 8 wedges per potato is good but go with what works for you.  Put the wedges in a bowl and toss in freshly ground pepper, sea salt, basil and olive oil.  Toss this combination and lay them skin side down on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.  Cook at 400° to the done-ness you prefer.  I like them golden brown ~30 minutes.

This was easily the best meal we’ve had in a while.   It was awesome!

To this I will add . . . this recipe produces a fairly chunky barbeque sauce.  If you want a smoother sauce, puree the ingredients before adding them to the pressure cooker.


Corkscrew Willow

Corkscrew willow in upper filter. Terry's antique toy trucks look great on the shop deck.

I had a lovely visit with my brother Dan and his wife Vala yesterday.  They live far enough away that I don’t get to see them often.  I was gifted with some corkscrew willow cuttings which I’ve stuck in the upper bog filter until I can get them rooted and ready to plant.