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The Ultimate Chet Baker

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Update on the peas: It went into the low 20's the night of April 2, and what parts of my several hundred pea plants that were sticking out of the straw mulch are looking decidedly dark and translucent this morning. Crap. I may wind up doing the whole durn start-em-in-the-greenhouse thing all over again. Well, my gardening is highly experimental, and I'm no stranger to failure. I'll keep you posted. I WANT PEAS BEFORE WE GO TO NORTH DAKOTA IN MID-JUNE. And I WILL GET THEM.

Update on the update, 3:47 pm April 3: Yep, more than half of the plants look like they've been nipped in half by frost, their little waists pinched, with the tops dying off. Some that were completely covered by straw look fine. The roots of the ones that are nipped are doubtless still alive, and they may send up more shoots, but I think some more pea planting is in my future. That's OK. I've got a greenhouse, and more seed. I still love the idea of starting them in the greenhouse, labor-intensive as it may be. It's a way to beat the rotten germination I get in the cold, cold ground. Looks like tonight's low of 26 is the lowest it'll go for the next ten days. Current plan: Start more, plant them next to the cold-nipped ones, see who wins. Life is an experiment, and the garden is but one of my laboratories.

S.J. Perelman:  "I guess I'm just an old mad scientist at bottom. Give me an underground laboratory, half a dozen atom-smashers, and a beautiful girl in a diaphanous veil waiting to be turned into a chimpanzee, and I care not who writes the nation's laws."

So here we are, with the last Chet Baker in snow photos that I suppose I'll take this wintry spring. You never know, though. We've had plenty of April snowstorms. Usually during those, I'm so busy hand-feeding baby bluebirds that I don't have time for dog photography.

Little dog, big barn. He loves to look for the animal inhabitants of such ancient spaces.

Looking for voles. Always with the voles. Here, he pauses while digging out a vole tunnel. I've never seen him catch one, but he enjoys the hunt. I grew up with a dachshund named Volks who, not having badgers to hunt, was similarly obsessed with shrews. He'd dig vast tunnels under tree roots, lying on his side, wearing his front nails to little buttons, and sometimes drag himself home, having been bitten and poisoned by a short-tailed shrew, North America's only venomous mammal. Back then, nobody knew Blarina brevicaudata had venom sacs in its tooth roots. And we used to think he'd been poisoned as he'd lie around for a couple of days afterward. Well, he had been, but not by an irritated neighbor. By a shrew.

Don't mess with shrews, Chet Baker.

He plunges down a steep bank, a picture of unerring grace

and races by me smiling. Did you catch that? Was I magnificent?

Always magnificent, Chet Baker. The best doggeh.

I will show you magnificent. Try this pose.

Ahh, perfect. Look at that topline. Thank you for that one. You look like a fullback, missing only a small leather helmet. 

Here I come! Ready or not!!

I'm ready, Chet Baker. Bring it on.

It was a very dark day, still snowing, actually, and I had no business getting photos like this with a 300 mm telephoto lens, but mine is not just any telephoto lens. It is a dream lens, on a dream camera. Not to mention a dream doggeh.

All photos taken with my Canon 7D and Canon EF 70-300 mm 1:4-5:6 L IS USM telephoto lens. You can get yourself one from my friends at Midwest Photo Exchange by clicking the links. Questions? Ask for Sonnie. He's the Canon guy, and he is awesome.  P.S. You will never be sorry you got yourself an awesome camera and lens. The sorry is in not doing it.


Love your blog Julie and especially the Chet Baker photos, such personality!!

Somehow, "faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound" comes to mind (...but perhaps I exaggerate).

Love your Chet Baker posts and all the rest, as well.

But those poor peas. Have you ever heard of Reemay cloth? It comes in summer and winter weights. I think the winter will add maybe 7 degrees of protection to your plants. And you can add a layer of plastic over that. I make a little shelter by overlaying my rows hoops made from PVC pipe -with a diameter just big enough to go over rebar. I buy the already-cut-rebar at Home Depot, then drive them partally into the ground in pairs, on either side of the row, add the pipe, and then cover with the cloth. I stake it on one side and attach it to a 2 X 4 the length of the bed on the other side. Then it will just roll up on warm days and can easily be unrolled across the hoops on cold nights. This plan also allows your fall crops to linger longer. This stuff last a few to several years and really pays for itself. Summer weights keeps bugs away from crops, except you need to take it off at pollination time.

Some garden shops sell it by the yard. Just buy enough extra to reach the ground at either end of the bed.

And you ought to get walls of water for your tomatoes and peppers so you can plant them two months before the last frost date.

Good luck on the peas. I think they grow faster, the longer the days get, so maybe you can catch them back up.

Awesome action shots of Chet in the snow... I really enjoy your website... It give me a smile & laugh and brightens my day... Thanks for sharing... :) ~~~Denise Smith, Hillsboro, Texas

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