Totality–Bowling Green, Kentucky

This picture was taken with out a special filter, so it doesn’t look exactly like what we saw with the naked eye, but it still gives you an idea.

The totality was amazing. We viewed it from an empty school parking lot. Most of the time we stood under the shade of some small trees (it was a crispy 95F) in a median, and little shadows of the (then partial) eclipse shown on the sidewalk below the trees. The sun’s rays passed through the spaces between the leaves, and they acted like hundreds of pinhole viewers.

At the point of total eclipse, it was as dim as dusk and we were able to see two planets, and you could look at the sun with the naked eye. We experienced the full eclipse for about a minute and a half. It looked like a fiery disk–a dark circle surrounded by flames. Up to this point we had been viewing with our special glasses. (They look like the old-fashioned paper 3-D glasses.) When the eclipse reached totality, the view through the glasses was total darkness.

You can see here how dark it got and one of the two planets we were able to see during the full eclipse of the sun.

We had traveled from Indianapolis, Indiana, where we had spent the night. The traffic on the interstate highway to Bowling Green, Kentucky, was sometimes at a standstill and sometimes moving at 80 mph–in a word CRAZY! We reached Bowling Green about 45 minutes before the big event. The eclipse had been in progress for over an hour by the time we arrived in the parking lot where we viewed the totality. There were lots of places to view. People were standing in fast food parking lots, front lawns, back porches, or paying $20 a carload to gather together in crowds to slow-roast in the sun.

We were very fortunate to pick the place that we did to view the totality. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and plenty of free places to view. We even had a few locals to share the experience with, and before we parted, we traded viewers with them. Now we have Wisconsin- and Kentucky-style viewers as memories of the day! Begonia

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Renewal Pruning My Dwarf Burning Bush

I had a problem with my burning bush. It had grown so tall that I couldn’t hang our American flag anymore! The bush is growing in a raised planter that forms a retaining wall to one side of our front door. I just lean over the rail and set my flag in the holder bolted to the front of our house. Handy–until Old Glory kept tangling in the bush!

I have removed the old growth of this bush over the years and trimmed branches, but the bush had reached a size that called for more drastic action. The bush is a dwarf variant, and I like it where it is because it attracts birds with its berries and its shelter from predators. Even though my renewal pruning job looks brutal, I’m really not trying to kill it!

Lilacs are another bush that can take this drastic pruning and thrive. You may lose blossoms for the first year, but the next year there will be more flowers than ever on all the new wood that replaces the old.

This is a job that you should do when the bush is still dormant or before bud break. (You will note that my bush was a little past bud break when I cut it back.) I used my curved pruning saw, which went through the branches like a hot knife through butter. I did the whole job including hauling the cut branches to my growing brush pile at the curb in about 15 minutes. When you are cutting back an entire bush, you don’t spend a lot of time agonizing about how a cut will affect the shape of the whole–you just get ‘er done!

What looks like a big job isn’t always as big as it looks. Begonia


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Spring Has Sprung

Beautiful Robin Hood tulips growing in one of my front vegetable beds.

I’ve been doing a lot of odds and ends in the garden over the last couple of days alone and with the help of my husband. The local farm store had a sale on fruit and vegetable plants. I got 20 present off on onion sets and ginger and rhubarb roots. The first thing I planted was the rhubarb. I dipped into my stash of compost again for this job. Rhubarb is a heavy feeder. This fall I will dump a full bushel of cow or horse manure onto it to give it a good start next spring!

I have had lots of the small bulbs blooming and now the tulips and daffodils have joined in. I like the bulbs that naturalize.

If I buy blooming bulbs, I like the ones that are potted in dirt so that I can transplant them outside. I did this with a hyacinth and tulip I bought in individual pots at Aldi earlier this spring. They look pretty sad now, but they should come back next year.

I spent some quality time in our raspberry patch digging out more brambles and removing dead wood. The brush pile on the front terrace is growing. I also dug and pulled a lot of Dames Rocket. I love the way it looks and smells, but it is a pestilence in the back border.

Part of our willow tree came down in an ice storm this past winter. Some kind neighbors came over and practiced their newly acquired chain saw skills on it. I ended up with some nice fire wood and some very crushed lawn furniture. We took the last of the broken wooden lawn furniture to the village compost site yesterday and returned with a load of wood chips which we distributed around the yard to bare spots.

I’m going to take another shot at straw bale culture this year! (I’ll tell you the rest of the story later. )

We will have to visit the compost site about four or five more times before we have all the paths and garden areas rechipped. We also will be on the look out for three more bales of straw and a lot of scrap lumber to do a few building and gardening projects, but those will be stories for another day! Begonia



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