Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring Planting

I have begun my Spring Planting in hopes of getting some decent seedlings that I could sell at Pemi. I figured the cost of inventory is low, (The cost of some seeds, soil and a few pots). I know eveyone store is selling plants right now, but the idea is to sell uncommon or unusual plants.

We'll have to see how things will 'bloom' by mid July, but here is the lineup:

Lithops (Living Stones) look like stones that suddenly bloom with colorful flowers, a succulent from South Africa. Sown this week indoors for the heat. Should sprout within a few days. 4/24

Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea Muscipula). A fun carnivorous plant. Sown indoors for the heat, expected sprout date in 30 to 45 days. 4/24

Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea Pungens var Glauca 'Misty Blue') are being sown outdoors because they require cooler temps. Germination 15 to 30 days. 4/25

Tea (Camellia Sinensis) sown 4/24, outdoors as its likes the cooler temps as well. I tried sprouting them when I lived in Vegas, but to no avail, most probably due to the high temps, even indoors.

Dawn Redwood - also being sprouted outside, as they prefer cooler temps. That and the Blue Spruce, I will try to 'bonsai'.

Black Dragon Coleus (Solenostemon Scutellariodes) - not planted yet, as they are easy to sprout, probably in July. Yes, I know you can get Coleus anywhere, but these are a stunning Black-leaved variety, and I assume, not available in stores.

Kona Coffee (Coffea Kona) planted today 4/26, after soaking for 2 days. In the house for the additional heat and could take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months to sprout.

Backordered: Various cacti seeds (I have a few sprouts from the Walmart/Home Depot packs, but I'd really am waiting for the Orchid Cacti. (Epiphyllum).

Anyone with insider info on the above plants please pass it along. Of course, I plan on keeping a 'sample' of each species.

I am almost ready to do a trademark searh for the Scorched Pig Products (still working on a logo).

Last week, Bruce and I visited a few nurseries and one, Kennedy's in Scituate, Mass. was fantastic. We made two visits in the same weekend. I picked up a gorgeous 11 inch specimen of Haagerocereus Thurberi (Mexican Pipe Organ) cactus for the unheard of price of $4.99. Beautiful dark green skin, with acupuncture needles with a black crown. Went to Walmart and bought a dark blue pot for the contrast and have it outside in a sunny spot in the yard.

Yes, I really understand that selling plants is risky since they are discretionary items during a high cost of oil age (which might cut down on attendance at Pemi), but at least growing things provide me with a little bit of enjoyment.

In an effort to garnet some 'street cred', I joined the Cactus and Succulent Society of America last week when I was taking care of Bruce's pets while he was off on vacation. He lanted his garden of tulips, peonies, etc and we went and picked up stone blocks so he can remove a fence and replace it with a stone wall.

Americans can only envy these benefits

While millions of Americans see their pensions being slashed, or eliminated entirely, some even after they've entered retirement and have to struggle to make ends meet with rising gas, oil, real estate prices, etc, just take a look at what your Congressman or woman gets:

From an AP story last week.

A lawmaker who retires at 60 after just 12 years in office can count on receiving an immediate pension of $25,000 a year and lifetime benefits that could total more than $800,000.

That doesn't include 401K benefits. And any member who lasts 5 years in office can get taxpayer-subsidized health care until he reaches Medicare age. Have 20 years of service, start collecting benefits at age 50. Cost of Living Adjustments can add as much as 25% to the value over the course of the Congressman's lifetime.

And get this: It doesn't matter what a Congressmen did before or does after leaving office. Former Representative Republican Randy (Duke) Cunningham who was sentenced to over 8 years in jail, is entitled to an annual pension of $36,000 for his 15 years in the House. This doesn't include his military pension or 401K benefits.

The ethically challened Tom DeLay who resigned rather than lose his seat and an embarrassing trial will get $56,000 which could total over $2M.

When you make this much money, its easy to see why they have so little sympathy for what you are going through.

Start throwing them out in November.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Little Brother is Watching You

Boston's local Fox station relayed the story of a Billboard that is located between a Fenway Park parking garage and the Mass. Pike that has a picture of the eyes of George Bush with the line "Little Brother is Watching You and a link to a website that questions the legality of the Bush Administration's domestic wiretapping program. It also provides a link to a website, littlebrotheris, where you can take an online poll and buy a tee shirt. But the irony is, the Massachusetts State Government, a Republican Administration wants it taken down, on the grounds it is 'too close' to another billboard. The owner of the billboard takes the view that he is just encouraging debate, but is this a case of censorship? Read the Boston Globe article here.


So, Tom Delay resigns and moves to Virginia, ay? On one level, it is a good move, because it deprives the Dems of a slow moving target, but if he is as innocent as he claims to be, then why not do the Texas thing and stay and fight, like at the Alamo? Texas might still be a part of Mexico if Delay would have been around then. And what's with moving to Virginia? And why Virginia? Is he trying to avoid being extridited to Texas? And is he moving to Virginia to become the next Super Lobbyist like Jack Abramoff, with whom he is so familiar? Hmmm.


A few weeks ago, Bruce and I toured Cape Ann and Gloucester. It was a rainy Sunday and the tourists have not yet arrived, but we did find one deep sea diving museum that was open. Small, but there was a variety of different kinds of scuba gear from various historical periods and one of the little fishing houses from the movie "The Perfect Storm" is on display nearby. Speaking of which, Bruce has a Blizzard of 78 website which has attracted many visitors, including the Weather Channel who wants him to work with them on a Blizzard of 78 and 'Perfect Storm' project. I will post the link in the link section to the right.

We also drove by the Gorton's Seafood Plant as well as the original Gloucester Fishermen Monument, which lists the names of all the fishermen who have died at sea since 1770. Interestingly, there were no drownings in 1776. That sounds like a fun project, along the likes of the Comstock Lode and Mining in Virginia City, Nevada.

There is still a lure of the sea in New England - where there was the Gloucester Fisherman and the Whalers of New Bedford and Nantucket. In fact, there is a 'mariner' middle school being planned for my home town. Students will learn history, science and 'practical' math applications based on mariner and shipbuilding and sailing as a guide. I wish a school like that would have been around when I was a kid.

On the way back, as we headed back further south, as Bruce was taking me home, we took the 'scenic' route, we decided to check out Dighton Rock, the spot where Portuguese Navigators allegedly reached American Shores some 40 years before Columbus, which, if true, would throw everything you've learned in grammer school out of whack, but hey, did the Vikings visit Newfoundland in 1000 AD?

The Rock was closed for the day (its a State Park) but we went on a hunt for historic graveyards, which, in Dighton, there are several. In fact, we found only one 'large, public' cemetaties, the Fox Cemetary, but many of the graveyards are tiny family cemetaries that you don't see in larger cities. Perhaps there were many in large cities but they probably got dug up and re-interred in larger public cemetaries. We found several of these gravesites, which included the Gooding Family Burial Grounds and some other familes. Some graves went back to the 1780s. Bruce took several hundred pictures as well as some stone Churches and other monuments. I suggested another project: "Etched In Stone: A Collection of Stone Graveyards, Churches and Monuments of Eastern Massachusetts". Bruce thought that would be a good idea, so you never know..


Last week, I transplanted my cacti seedlings that were sprouted on January 21. I had about 43 sprouts originally, but so far only 10 have survived. Not sure why. I am not sure, if I removed the covering to early or what, but some of the members of the Cacti and Succulent Forum say that cacti sprouts at that stage are just mini water balloons that if they lose their moisture, they just shrivel up and didintegrate. I have always love cacti and I have at least one that still has its first leaves as well as a green 'trunk' and spines and is about 1/2 tall. I will begin feeding next week, as they are now coming out of dormancy. Next month, they go outside. I am looking into the possibility of pushing 'Scorched Pig Cacti Seeds' for sale at Pemi.


The numbers for March. We hit 1,000 hits on March 14! The most prolific readers were from MN, NY and Washington and Texas.

The roll of states: CA (Pomona and Sunnyvale), CT, CO, DC, FL, IN, LA,MA (several) MI,MN,MO,NC,NM,NV (Genoa, the oldest established town in the state) NY,RI, TX and WA.

Foreign: Armenia, Latvia, Morocco and several friends from the UK. Welcome All.