Gout and About on a Wednesday Afternoon

Somehow I managed to make it through piles of alprazolam, bottles of beer, liquor, and wine, general stress, Italian food, meats, and frozen custard without any sign of gout.  But last night, following a day of respectable eating and mild exercise, the first signs of foot torment reared their heels.  Today shalln’t be one of excessive ambulation.

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You can see the die back in the darker brown of the trunk just below my cut line. A lot of my trees suffered similar damage.

Many of my trees didn’t make it through the winter.  I think the back and forth extremes of cold and heat were too much for the seedlings.  Many did make it, but I regret the loss of any number.  Some of the saplings took damage as well, so the strain wasn’t limited to the immature, nor was it limited to the deciduous, as several of my coniferous trees are a bit worse for the wear.  Saddest is my loss of two thirds of my Corkscrew Willows.  While I admit that they don’t belong here, I was fond of them and had greatly looked forward to seeming them as adults.  I hope to keep my remaining one alive so that it might flourish and resolve that desire.

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Sad little willow.

My Alberta Spruce survived the winter.  I buy one every year, usually from a grocery store where I happen to be shopping for X-mas goods, but they are so poorly planted and packed that they normally die some time in january.  This one has new growth, bright green, rubber soft needles protruding past the old brown and dead ones.  I was sure it wouldn’t survive, but had to repot it just yesterday.  It looks to be doing well and I imagine it will need several successively larger pots before the end of the season.

I’ve got quite a few maples of various sizes growing in pots and in the yard.  I’ve to gather them up and pot or compost them soon or they threaten to turn my yard into a bit too much of a forest for even my tastes.  As much as I love trees having a copse of maples barring the way out of my house is a bit much.  I really should take some time and identify the maples in my yard, I assume there are more than one species given the phenotypic differences, but I suppose the variety could be accounted for within a single strain.  My neighbors have Japanese Maples, and they’re easy enough to differentiate, but none of those seem to take on my grounds.  The hardier native varieties have little trouble in seeding the length and breadth of my property.  One imagines the ideological opposite of carpet bombing, a flood of falling missiles that spread life and prosperity.

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Happy pine.

I potted a purple fingerling potato I rescued last winter.  I forced it into dormancy but it’s woken up and become quite vigorous.  Potatoes are stem growers, so a simple trick for getting more spuds from one’s bush is to pot the plant in successive coverings. Roots tend to grow out, rather than down, so if one allows the stem to reach eight inches and then covers the bottom four a handful of time he will encourage the production of potato producing root growth.  In the gallery below I’ve potted the plant just a few inches above the base of the potato bag.  I covered about two thirds of the plant and when it reaches eight inches above the current soil line I’ll cover the bottom four.  I’ll repeat this until the bag is full.  A note on this process: make sure the planter is where you want it before you start.  The bag, and one’s back, does not do well moving the bag once it’s filled.

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