How to make your Christmas Cactus bloom

There’s all sorts of articles on the internet about how to make your christmas/thanksgiving/easter cactus bloom when you want it to bloom. Most of them boil down to “put it in a cool and dark room and ignore it for a few months then bring it out”. That always gets me a dead plant, so I’d given up.

However one of the things that came out of me being repeatedly indisposed due to surgery was the discover that its WAY easier than that to make it bloom on command.

Just forget to water it for about two weeks.

Seriously, its that easy. Don’t water it for two weeks, and then give it a good soaking.

Poof! Bright pink flowers!

I’ve been so delighted by the discovery that I went out and bought a peachy/orange colored one. Its still a fairly small plant, but hopefully in a few months it’ll be big enough for me to do the same and I’ll have BOTH blooming!


I have found my new favoritest watermelon ever.

Started inside at the beginning of May, planted out in the garden by the end of May. Nice compact plant that barely spilled over the sides of the 4′ stock tank I planted it in. We had some stupid hot weather early this year that might have made them ripen early, but I just picked the 2nd melon off the one plant. Both a bit smaller than the one pictured above.

I failed to get a picture of the melons, but here’s what they look like inside:

I’m ruined now for any other watermelon. These are OMG SWEET and so flavorful. I may never eat another watermelon variety again. If you do container gardening these might do quite nicely in a large pot on a deck.

I might have to try staggered planting next year and see if I can extend the ripening season so I can have more them…..


Ok, technically caterpillers. But close enough.

So back in 2019 I planted some Bronze Fennel, Snap dragon flowers, and some random annual flowers in the tractor tire that used to be a strawberry bed. I didn’t really expect them to come back, we’re borderline growing area for both the fennel and snapdragons, but I wasn’t going to complain if they did come back.

Last summer, when I went to plant some tropicals in there, just because I needed the color, I was delighted to see the bronze fennel was coming back up. One of the points of growing it was that its supposed to be popular among Swallowtail butterflies, and who doesn’t like butterflies?

This year, when I went to go plant some more tropicals in there, I realized that not only had the fennel survived the winter, it was spreading! Well then, that works.

I was even more delighted last week when I realized that the weeds peeking around the edges of the weed barrier weren’t weeds as such, but infact snapdragon flowers!

So today I went out and pulled out the remains of the weed-barrier, and pulled out the few actual weeds that were growing in there.

And in the process discovered at least 3 big green and black caterpillars munching away on the fennel!

Google tells me this is most likely an Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar!

Well then, I’ll be keeping an eye out for cocoons!

Garden 2020

I haven’t managed to post about it, but I am planning on a garden for this year. Infact I managed to score a pallet of organic garden soil to top off the garden with at 75% off a couple months ago. We didn’t manage to get the wooden greenhouse set up last year, so I purchased another plastic cover for the plastic one.

I was very amused to discover that a large portion of the carrots I failed to pick last year have survived the winter and are now sprouting. It’ll be interesting to see if I can collect seeds. Even some of the parsnips are coming back up! Unfortunately the ants have invaded this bed again. Fortunately 2nd year carrots aren’t considered edible, they’re grown for seeds, so I can put down an insect killer and not worry about it to much.

Pepper seedlings out in the greenhouse. I’ve a few still left in the growtent in the house, along with all the tomatoes that I just planted.

We’d been originally thinking we’d go with a smaller than usual garden, for several reasons, but now I’m rethinking that. I’ve started seeds for our normal amount of tomatoes, we’ll see where things go from there. I do have 3 or 4 tire planters that need to be sprayed with weed killer and insect repellent and then covered with black plastic for a few months to kill everything that’s in them, but I think I can work around them well enough.

We’ll make it work!

I’m failing at this blogging thing this year

I keep meaning to do up a post weekly, and next thing I know a month as gone by.  Ooops.

Lets see.

The co-worker who was out on medical leave is back to work, and looks like he’s doing much better.  So I’m back to just working my  normal department.  Just in time for christmas crazy to start.

Garden is very done.  The peppers were holding on, then temps crashed hard, overnights of 20F is not conducive to live pepper plants.  Dammit.

It looks like we’re headed into a very wet winter.  There has been massive amounts of flooding this fall, and now that its turning cold its coming down as snow.  Which isn’t much of an improvement.

The old pool has been pulled up completely, now if only the yard would either dry out or freeze solid so that we can run a dump truck over it so we can fill the hole with gravel.

The 3D printer is in the house, we ran through two spools of filament in the space of 2 weeks.  We’re currently on a pause printing though as we are dealing with our first filament jam, and having to order parts because of it.

There’s probly more that has happened, but I’m off to work now, to sell snow shovels, salt, and snowblowers.  With a side helping of christmas glitter.  Yay.

Frost and things

So, the saturday after I posted my last post we got a frost, and not a mild one either.  It hung around till well past 8am in any area not immediately hit by the sun.  Finished off the melons, and most of the tomatoes (a couple plants in the middle of the garden are still alive, but that’s it).  However most of the peppers held up just fine.  We’ve had a couple lighter frosts since, but again, most of the peppers are still holding on.  So with Husband’s help I rearranged my shade canopy (over some of the peppers) to a frost protection lean-to.  Here’s hoping it’ll hold things long enough actually get those peppers to ripen.

Meanwhile Apollo is delighted by the colder temps, and peeved at us for lighting up the wood burning stove to counter the chill.

Yesterday, while bringing in Arty from the fenced run, I managed to get stung by a yellow jacket.  No clue where the damn thing came from, I didn’t brush against any weeds or flowers or the like, but when I bent my arm to grab his leash it got pinched in the inside of the elbow and stung me.  Spent the rest of the day yesterday taking a max dose of benadryl, and getting stabbing pains from shoulder to knuckles every time the benadryl started to wear off.  Today it hurts less, but itches more.  Yay.

My neighbor on my north side has her property up for sale.  She’s in her upper 80’s, and her husband died a couple years ago.  The “kids” (who’re pushing retirement age themselves) have been helping care for things, but she’s decided she’s done.  She’s moved into an apartment in town and put things up for sale.  Crossing my fingers for a neighbor I can tolerate.

The co-worker who’s been out on medical leave is HOPEFULLY coming back at the end of Oct.  Crossing fingers.  The last time I saw him, over a month ago, he looked pretty damn frail, and was clearly not healing very well.  But the folks who’ve seen him more recently all agree that he’s doing MUCH better.

One of the libraries in the next county over has a Maker Lab, including 3d printers.  I’ve been going over periodically to play a bit and print things.  They put one of their older printers up for sale, it runs fine, but apparently the touch screen control pad is failing.  Normally a $2000+ machine, they’re selling it for $200.  I did a bit of checking, the manufacturer sells a replacement control panel for $80, and it appears to be a pretty straight forward swap.  So we’re buying it.

Life in general

Garden is mostly done, with a few exceptions.  I’ve got two baby watermelons still holding on and getting bigger, and the new pepper varieties have finally put out baby peppers, since they’re a colder hardy variety I might see if I can get away with tenting them and see if they’ll produce.

The pool walls are completely down.  Now if it would stop raining long enough for everything to dry out so we can  have a big ass gravel truck drive across the yard to delivery the gravel.

Work is still a bit crazy, I’m still covering for a co-worker with health problems, and now my “home” department is short a full time associate too.  Again.  *sigh*

I’ve been having a great deal of fun playing with my new spinning wheel.  And having to resist buying ALL THE FIBERS!!! to play with.

We found a baby Cedar Waxwing under one of our maple trees.

I couldn’t find the nest to put him back up unfortunately, and it was gone the next day.

Our fridge died, and we had to buy a new one in a hurry.

Note to self, cleaning the dog fur out the compressor intakes on a regular basis is probably a good idea.

For the first year, since we bought this house, I successfully grew Snapdragon flowers.

Aren’t they pretty?  Now to hope they’ll come back again next year…..


Garden, melons, etc, update

I have finally picked enough tomatoes to fill a gallon ziplock bag.  Normally by this time I’ve got several bags full.

Those giant cucumbers are very very good when picked young.

An interesting note: the plants sharing a tire with a sunflower are less happy than the rest of the garden.  There are other plants in the garden equally unhappy, but everything sharing a tire with a sunflower is very unhappy.  Including the one tire of jalapenos, even though the rest of the jalapenos are fine.  I guess that my idea to spread the sunflowers around the garden instead of dedicating a tire or two was a bad one.

Something, I suspect a bunny, keeps trying to chew on plants, and then deciding they taste bad and leaving the cut off stalks to lay there.  Its very annoying.

Melon run down:

Boule d’Or: plant is pretty happy, but I  haven’t seen any actual melons form

Petit Gris: baby melons

Rich Sweetness: trying hard to hold on, at least one baby melon

Bateekh Samara: dead and no melons

Royal Gold Watermelon: plant isn’t happy, but its in a tire with a sunflower, its trying hard though

Golden Jenny: dead, bunny repellent failure (or maybe I forgot to treat it)

Noir d’Comes: had two melons!  Something ate them.  Plant very happy

Green Nutmeg: has a baby melon, plant reasonably happy

Kaho Watermelon:  Cross your fingers!


I have to add, many many houses where I normally see noticable gardens didn’t bother this year, or gave up early.  Its been a bad year for gardening.

Garden and general update

Cross your fingers, but the Noir d’Comes melon has two baby melons on it, and at least two of the other melons have what appears to be fertilized female flowers… if only fall will hold off long enough I might get melons after all!

The biggest of the sunflowers is blooming.

Not as giant as hoped, but I’ll take what I can get.

The pool has gone from this:

to this:

Once the whole thing is gone we’ll fill the remaining hole with gravel, and put my to-be-greenhouse on it.

In completely unrelated news my new spinning wheel has arrived!

And I’m having to remind myself to finish chores before sitting down to play!