Pictures From My Shower... tradescandalous!

Of me? Nuh uh, you wish. I don't think you're ready for the proverbial jelly. 

When I shower, I like to feel like I'm in the rainforest, minus the tropical diseases. So I installed an overhead shelf and stocked it with orchids and tropical vines, including Tradescantia flumensis (possibly 'Quicksilver') and Tradescantia zebrina.

Then there's a staghorn fern (platycerium bifurcatum), silver squill (ledebouria spp.) and an aglaeonema (noid). There was a long, luxurious, sessy ponytail of spanish moss (tillandsia uesnoides) hanging from the curtain rod, which brought me joy during every shower. But then I went to the Garfield Conservatory for their awesome plant sale, and quelle surprise! It turns out LIVE spanish moss is a pale foamy green, like mermaid hair. That made me realize that the brown spanish moss in my shower had been dead for, like, months. Months during which I was lovingly patting it, and soaking it in cool water with fertilizer dilutions, and trying not to spritz it with soap or shampoo. My love was really accidental necrophilia. Oh well, live and learn!

Anyhow, welcome to my THIRD post of 2011, mid December. It's been pretty weird. Why wasn't I documenting my summer?!? The whole internet missed my vegetable garden! Isn't it funny how you get busy like that?


Merry Christmas, Motherfuckers

Dear Chicago.

     What is up with this freezing weather? I am tired of my puffy coat. It's May.

Nature Assassin


1) I entered myself into a lottery for a garden plot at my local park district, Ruby Community Garden. And BAM, son! I got one! I am gonna grow shit so hard. I'm gonna be out there on the daily, digging and hoeing. People will be like "GIRL YOU BESTA QUIT HOEING IT UP." And then I'll say, "NEVER."

2) In this vein, I've got Romas, Super Sweet 100s, Russian Banana taters, strawberries, and zucchini all sprouting.

 I know that these are not houseplants. I'm also sprouting some Albizia just to keep it kosher.

3) Latest project: worm composting! There's a big gnarly worm bin in my kitchen. I used a small drill bit to make about 120 holes in the lid of a plastic storage tub, just like the one I use for sprouting seeds. If the pictures look dark, it's probably because it is dark. In Chicago. Forever.

Anyway, vermicomposting is fabulous, eco-friendly and fun... until you actually see the worms. Then you sort of die a little inside. They led a revolt the other day; a dozen or so climbed up the side of the tub and almost escaped through the seam of the lid. Needless to say, there was some screaming, and I nearly Avada-Kedavra'd them right off the balcony. Repugnant little.... ew. Just ew.

4) The Kombucha War rages on. Every time I get a new Scoby (which stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), it tries to kill me... mostly by mold contamination, but the last one was more proactive. Photo below of the first tasting, which was gross, but did not kill me. I put the whole brew on top of the fridge and forgot about it... when I finally remembered to check on it, it had swollen up, eaten all the liquid in the jar, and was trying to climb out. Again with the screaming, and this time, I showed no mercy. I channeled my inner Sigourney Weaver, and sent that freak out the airlock.

5) My citrus x meyeri brought aphids into the compound. You know that I do not brick with that shit. Normally I would just throw them all out. But since I've gotten all attached to my citrus trees, I hired some teeny tiny assassins instead.

Sorry for the blurry photos. Those are ladybugs. I'm releasing about a dozen every day into my plant room. Weird? Yes. Extreme? Totally. But you know, there's something about watching those angry little tanks grab an aphid and SUCK IT EMPTY THROUGH ITS FACE that I just find to be really... hmm... satisfying.

So, lesson for the household organisms: don't mess with me, or I will kill you. Possibly with fire. Or pestilence. Now and then, a melee weapon.

More soon.



Sorry for the long delay, y'all! Here we go.

I love to germinate seeds. This spring, as usual, I'll give away asstons of seedlings. I'm going to germinate way more plants than I could ever reasonably use, just for funsies. The seed catalogs are pouring in, and I'm already in love. Moon and Stars Watermelon has got me waiting by the phone, crying, pining away. Anyway, growing tender seedlings indoors, with two cats around, can be somewhat... complex.

Dear cat. You're in my terrarium, crushin' my pachira, with your fat truck ass. What gives. Sincerely, your Overlord.

Everything has to be critter-proofed this year. I put a giant metal shelving unit right next to the heat radiator, figuring that the heat would speed up the germination process. Next, I needed a tough airtight container, like a seed incubator, but those things are wicked expensive. I've tried the soft plastic-covered trays that you might get from a home improvement center... unfortunately, Jiffy brand did not center their product design around domestic critter-attack. I was totally at a loss, until a smart friend said to me, "What about those plastic storage tubs, like they have at Target?"


 It looks a little jacked up, but it works just fine. The upper shelf contains my smaller tropical plants, enclosed in plastic. The front panel pops out so I can water and refill the humidifier. The second shelf is my seed incubators. The first seeds to go in were Dyckia 'Brittle Star,' provided by Turtlewalker at the fabulous blog Succulent Bromeliads and Others (thanks again!). Preparing Dyckia seeds for germination is a tricky process involving sugar, bleach, and prayer. Once prepped, I popped them in peat pellets and...


Isn't it cute?!? And it took no time whatsoever... maybe two weeks. More updates to follow.