Metatalktail Hour: what's growing? April 18, 2020 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Happy weekend, Mefites! This weekend jessamyn says: What's growing? Your garden? Your kids? Your hair? Your aggravation at your friends and neighbors? Your "What I'm gonna do when this is over" list? Your dream journal. Let's talk about growth!

As always this is a conversation starter, not limiter; feel free to let us know about non-growth things that're on your mind too. Just no politics please.
posted by LobsterMitten to MetaFilter-Related at 10:28 AM (98 comments total)

My hair (what remains of it) has begun to reappear after I shaved it all off last weekend. In other circumstances I'd have just gone to the barber for a trim. I'm now attempting to grow a moustache for the first time in my life.
posted by misteraitch at 10:34 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Little e is learning to use computers and the internet. We have deliberately kept her fairly insulated from it until now — she’s not a kid that has grown up on YouTube, excepting clips we deliberately chose to show her — but she does need some independence now that her coursework is mediated this way. So she’s learning about file management, and about online communication etiquette. She signs her emails, “Best wishes,” ! Seeing her name in my inbox is my new favorite thing.

The crocuses have already bloomed. It feels early. Bleeding hearts are coming up, lilacs are budding, the cardioid leaves of the wild violets are starting to unfold. The world situation is so absurd right now, with our lives in aspic, and it continues to surprise me when my fingernails still need a trim, every ten days, like clockwork.
posted by eirias at 10:46 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


I am wearing my hair in a pony tail for the first time in... I don’t even remember the last time.
posted by bookmammal at 11:06 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I've had my eyebrows waxed once every four weeks for...three years? Four? In that time, they've become positively wild (partly silver-grey, curly, pokey-outey) and I just never noticed because the woman who waxes them for me magically makes them not do that. I miss her like crazy - she's become a dear friend over the years - but I'm kind of fascinated by the untamed nature of my brows when they're not actively maintained.

The hair on my head is also longer and greyer than it's been in years, but it seems to have less of a mind of its own than my Wild Silver Brows (TM).
posted by okayokayigive at 11:23 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Every weekend I pick something to organize in the kitchen. I've done the storage space under the sink, the shelves under the range, the storage area under the stairs (lots of spiders). Today it was the 3 pull-out drawers next to the sink.
It's very satisfying to get everything out, clean the drawers themselves, then choose what to put back and what to relocate and what to throw out. Then put everything in rational locations, knives here, bags there, etc.
I think that organizing the space I spend a lot of time in gives me a feeling of fighting back against creeping entropy. Not letting everything go to seed.
I also threw out an old bike and barbecue that were taking up half of the space in my tiny back yard.
posted by signal at 11:26 AM on April 18 [8 favorites]


Plus, my wife says that she loves me much more now that I've become the household organization/throw out crap guy, that this is the man she always hoped to have married. So that's a bonus.
posted by signal at 11:28 AM on April 18 [34 favorites]


I have so many herbs planted on my balcony right now! To list them all, there's dill, tarragon, tansy, marjoram, four kinds of basil, chives, garlic chives, lemongrass, oregano, stevia, epazote, Vietnamese coriander, cilantro, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, lemonbalm, cedronella, and mint! We also have four tomato plants and a bell pepper. And lots of alpine strawberries, looks like more just arrived in the mail. Not to mention all the flowers... This will be my first time growing fuschias and I got all the pretty colors!

The fun thing is that I bought all of those plants from grocery stores (or online) while doing my weekly grocery run, so no non-essential travel. But I can't wait for my local nursery to open back up. They've been shut down for at least month now and I hope they survive this.
posted by mollywas at 11:45 AM on April 18 [6 favorites]


Just now, I made roasted rhubarb from the plant in my garden, the rhubarb I ignored for years because its stalks never become that lovely shade of pinky-red. In that time, it has become massive. Today, I pulled a few stalks, chopped them into short pieces, roasted them in brown sugar, orange extract, and vanilla, and enjoyed with the first harvest of spring. Surprisingly good! Fruity, grassy, and sweet in just the right combination.

The garlic--put in a month ago, because I was too lazy to do it last Halloween--is coming up nicely, as are the overwintered and re-planted shallots. Radish leaves are poking up, and mayyyyyybe carrots as well. This year, I'm using plastic jugs as cloches for cabbage, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, Yod Fah, Romanesco, and cilantro. It looks awful, but this approach has saved a hundred tiny plants from some really savage winds and the ongoing cold and the chickens, so I'm counting it as a win. Spring peepers returned March 10, and on April 10, three barn swallow scouts came to check out this year's breeding grounds among the rafters. This damn virus cannot cancel spring.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:56 AM on April 18 [12 favorites]


Everything is growing- except my little gherkins which bit the dust leaving me cucumber-less in April, which is a sad thing to be. All the alliums in my garden are doing great however. Though if I see more scale on my garlic scrapes I'll have to put out more ant baits. The leek bed was a great idea- makes use of an odd area with odd light. I'm happy to say my last two large tomatoes are in there own bed! And in other good news as I was planting them all the local ladybug larvae came to say hello so not only are the plants happy, the local nasty bug eaters seem to be raring to go!
I also finally planted my purple potatoes- two months after I bought them and said I'd plant them. Hey- I'm a procrastinator in the best of times, sue me.

Here's something warm and fuzzy. So I did a phone order to get new cucumber starts since mine failed, with my boss. I got more then just cukes, I got a large squash plant for a pot, some herbs, a little more soil as well. I joked if I had an employee discount still and I do. So It looks like I'm furloughed not fired which is certainly making me feel a lot better. Work is open- limited hours, limited capacity, and in order to be essential it's like 70% edibles. Which drives me a little crazy as it's my area of expertise and under other circumstances I'd probably be the point person- but that might kill my folks. But my coworkers are hanging in there and since gardening is a great thing to do without leaving the house, work's not losing a ton of business even though most of the sales are drop off and pick up. So not only am I not fired- it looks like unlike other types of businesses that are straight up shuttering, I might have a job to come back to in a few months. In the meantime, I'm just gonna keep on tending my garden. That's all we can do sometimes.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:00 PM on April 18 [12 favorites]


Slips emerged just before I was ready to give up and compost the sweet potatoes. I pulled off and potted five and more are emerging. There are seedlings all over the place: onions,poblanos, tomatillos, sweet alyssum, heliotrope, Japanese indigo and madder. Butternut squash and moonflower will be started this weekend but everything else gets direct seeded when the soil warms. I might have planted fewer flowers and more vegetables (dye plants are non-negotiable) if I had known what was going to happen. I was counting on my usual CSA to round out the food plants but I don't know how that will go this year.
posted by Botanizer at 12:07 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Eh just now update to the purple potatoes- I was cleaning up my room a tad and found this. A lost potato start! It must have rolled out of the box when I first bought it in February and landed behind a shelf. Oops. I’m uh gonna just run out and pop that in the dirt.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:17 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


The lime basil seeds we planted are growing - still waiting on the lavender and mint. My waistline is growing thanks to the fourth meal we are eating every night around midnight. And my wine intake has grown exponentially.
posted by lyssabee at 12:22 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


Been doing some emotional growth lately. Realizing a lot of times when I say, "I'm tired," I'm really just sad or frustrated about something. Today it was from reading about people protesting the shutdown, which was extra upsetting because a few days ago my mom indicated she was going to go to one of those protests, so there was a lot of underlying anxiety and anger about that and the safety of my dad and brothers as well. But I wasn't really cognizant of that and it just came out as an unexplained exhaustion.

Talking it out helped and now I'm resetting by watching partner play Animal Crossing. Now not feeling so tired, because I'm not so sad/frustrated. In similar previous situations I would just scroll Tumblr and Metafilter infinitely in a haze for hours and hours because "I'm just so tired."

Emotions are wild, y'all.
posted by brook horse at 12:28 PM on April 18 [18 favorites]


I’m making a half-hearted effort to grow a beard. I had a mustache for years when I was younger, but who knows? If it’s not pleasing when it’s time to go back to work, it can come off.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:32 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


My ass :(
posted by HotToddy at 12:40 PM on April 18 [10 favorites]


The biggest peaches are about the size of my thumb. Just a little coat of flesh around a big ol' pit, I worry they're not going to get much bigger. I tried counting the buds on the crazy wild rosebush (that I pay zero heed to ever) under my bedroom window about three times and kept losing count/track right around 45. It's about to go off. The cabbage I set out in the rain last week has a bunch of tiny little sprouts, now I need to find out how to put it in the ground. Still no signs of the shallots I tossed into the corner of the yard. The baby black sage I carefully dug out of my neighbor's backyard hill ("you want that weed?") got hammered in the rain, so as of right now it's still just a twig. I'm not holding out hope for it, sadly, but there were plenty more encroaching and that trail ahem, yard is still somewhat accessible from home. I'm slowly/haphazardly trying to replace the lawn with native growth, but it's bermuda grass and incredibly persistent. It's probably the most grow-y thing I got going right now, I grudgingly admit.

All the growth means I'll be doing all the edging, in the front at least, for the nosy neighbors ("that's encroachment!"), this afternoon if I can get my ass in gear and my resentment in check. Tips and advice for the peaches appreciated. My tree is ancient but tiny.
posted by carsonb at 12:42 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


i hope my small african violet leaf that I am trying to root is growing little roots. I have attached maybe too much significance to being able to regrow this african violet (since the mothership sadly met a bad end.)

in other news, over in IRL metafilter, an intention to have a virtual get together (virtual real time metatalktail hour?) today around 4 on zoom seems to be growing .. hopefully some of you will see this.. and be interested : ) for the zoom id go here: https://irl.metafilter.com/4426/Quarantine-Hobby-Meetup-Virtual
posted by elgee at 12:46 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I purchased the last, very sad basil plant from the grocery store because I couldn't bear to leave it drooping and near-death. I have taken a keen interest in its well-being and watered it daily or even twice a day. It looks very perky and full now on the kitchen windowsill.

I can't bear to keep a list of things I'll do when this is all over. It feels like that time may never come. But in the back of my mind they creep in. Swimming in the lake, hugging my mother, and sitting at the table for dinner with my friends.
posted by mai at 12:51 PM on April 18 [8 favorites]


Around 1993, after a year or so of living in Chicago, I whacked my long hair short. My short hair is now, alas, revolting against its style; soon, I'll no longer be able to see the keyboard from under my bangs. I probably should have bought a headband. I'm operating under the assumption that it may be months before I can get a haircut, in which case maybe I should just revert to wearing it long again.

Things growing at House the Trilogy that should be growing include the grass, daffodils, and various flowers on the trees. I didn't move in until last August, so I'm not yet familiar with what should be sprouting; I do remember spotting a somewhat bizarrely-located rose bush (possibly gardening by squirrel?).
posted by thomas j wise at 12:58 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Mad hair sideways out of my ears, for the very first time. 37. Where is the latest fucking fuck thread
posted by ominous_paws at 1:14 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


help! i was supposed to get a haircut the day after everything closed! it was to be my first haircut in 6 months! i don't have a complicated haircut and can keep it looking semi-cool by just using clippers to shave one side of it but i have to do this like 1990 style flip thing with the fringe and it's getting a little ridiculous. think...shannon doherty in heathers but like with one side buzzed. i dunno.

for some reason i got a mint plant but i don't know what to do with it, apparently i need special dirt to plant it in an actual flower pot, but i don't have any! i didn't realize that special dirt was a thing so i don't think this mint plant will be growing for very long unless anyone has any tips for me

i like staying home and stuff, i'm pretty good at amusing myself but as an extrovert WOW i am not dealing too well with the isolation. i've been on extended hiatus from facebook for like over a year for a myriad of reasons but i'm actually considering getting back on it just so i don't feel so DANG ALONE ALL THE TIME

anyway it's good to hear from y'all
posted by capnsue at 1:22 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


At Christmas, I bought my first ever plants, actually. My wife does lots of gardening, but I've only pitched in as manual labor with her some times. We moved to a new place last year with a front and back yard that are much too big. After listening to an episode of Gastropod about paw paws, I was inspired to buy my own. My grandfather purportedly picked paw paws in the Appalachian woods when he was a young (and quite poor) man, but I've never eaten them.

So far, the trees seem to be doing reasonably well. We are the last house on our street to have city water. Our two neighbors further down the street decided this Spring was the time to hop on city water themselves, and the paw paws were quite near the construction zone. But the workers seemed to be reasonably mindful of not squashing them. Three more years til fruit!
posted by Slothrop at 1:24 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


My mechanical pencil collection. ...but in seriousness, I haven't been able to find any pencils to write with so I bought a few.
posted by redrawturtle at 1:40 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


My mulberry trees are fruiting! I always forget how much I like mulberries until spring comes around and they fruit again. I just spent an hour picking them and delivering the day's yield to a colleague who makes mead--she's going to mix them with honey and turn them into booze.

I'm doing my own emotional growth, too. My partner and I have been attending classes at a local Reform synagogue for the past few months, and I... spent a lot of time grappling with what it means to show up and feel welcomed, specifically for being my whole self, in a space I haven't built or helped build. It's a novel feeling, and a scary one, but... I think good, too?

Also, we accidentally taught the dog the HaMotzi, as I discovered when she came tearing across the house mid-service last night to demand her little piece of my partner's challah and stared in rapt fascination until the service ended and she got a second piece.
posted by sciatrix at 1:58 PM on April 18 [16 favorites]


I have this recurring dream that I discover an unused room or floor in my house that's been frozen in time, and I'm always excited about the possibilities of what I can use it for. I've had this dream a few times a year for the past 15 years. Anyway I just finished decluttering and fixing up the basement today, and it occurred to me that I was living out that dream. So I guess you could say the space in my house is growing.
posted by selfmedicating at 2:26 PM on April 18 [17 favorites]


I made paneer! It's been years for various reasons, and it's nice to get back to doing that.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:54 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


My hair, definitely. Luckily, I started the process of growing out my pixie cut about 2.5 years ago, and it's currently all one length, just past hitting my shoulders. I need a trim, but I have it in a ponytail or bun 85% of the time so it doesn't matter.

My income, hopefully. I'm on interview #3 for what sounds like a really interesting job. The salary range I gave them at interview #1 is way overpaid for the position, but we'll see.


I grilled up some pork chops I had lurking in the back of the freezer tonight, and the propane tank ran out when I thought they needed another minute or two. I kept the lid shut for about 5-10 min, until the temp gauge ran down, and then pulled them and decided to go with it. This is perfectly cooked, juicy, and delicious. I love when fate intervenes and improves things.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 3:01 PM on April 18 [11 favorites]


I've been embroidering, which used to do ALL THE TIME but then I had kids and I mostly had to stop because babies and toddlers loooooooove grabbing shiny sharp things and trying to eat them, so bye bye needles. Now they're all old enough not to, so I've pulled out my sewing box and I've gotten to work on a candlewicking project.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:05 PM on April 18 [9 favorites]


My hair is at a weird length that can only be partially managed by headbands and avoiding mirrors as much as possible. But to be fair, I kind of hate getting a haircut so I might be avoiding fixing this mess even if there weren't a pandemic.

I am not growing anything on purpose right now, but I do have a forsythia on my deck that is thriving despite my benign neglect.

I did at least finally do the laundry I have let pile up for weeks, so I feel I have reached the minimum level of responsibility required to let me lazily read a novel tonight. Maybe tomorrow I will be more ambitious.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:37 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


Things here are so weird. Sort of quarantined. Sort of not. Nobody has a clue. I'm doing what I can. Lovely to receive some MetaFilter birthday cards, thank you so much.
With work way down, I am trying to work on the things I don't usually have time for. My original-fiction thing is very slowly growing; it's hard! Still, up to chapter 5 and 17K+ words so far.
Be safe and well, everybody.
posted by huimangm at 3:45 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


I had been apathetic to spring planting until a brief burst of productivity in February that resulted in starts that were just coming ready in early March when I started to get worried about All This. A couple additional rounds of starts were subsequently started, and last weekend I filled up ten more grow bags (to add to about 12 existing containers and bags) and got trellises into several of them for beans.

I had started a whole tray of something that I labeled with a pen that disappeared under grow lights. Some of them were obvious after they'd developed a bit - tomatoes, cucumbers - but there were six plants in there that are definitely peppers...of some kind. I just chucked 'em all in a big grow bag, it'll be exciting to find out what they were!

Quarantine-related time distortion plus an unusually wet spring aside, I always forget that Los Angeles is not actually a warm place overall. The days are finally getting long enough that traditionally-warm-weather plants start to respond, but it is cold and rainy and dreary here at a point where I could really use some sunshine. We'll have a hot snap later this week, along with high winds (always exciting when you've got new trellises going - let's see what survives!), but we've still got May Gray and June Gloom coming.

Still, I'm sitting here watching half a dozen sparrows and a mourning dove under the bird feeder, and a squirrel up in the dish I fill to try to keep them from challenging the pole baffle, and I have to be grateful I've got outside space to be in at all right now, even if it is gray and damp.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:53 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


My kid's daycare was going to germinate dried beans as a class project but shut down before it could happen, so I did it myself. I germinated 5 lentils, potted them on April 1, and one seedling has survived. I desperately want it to survive and produce seed pods! I don't have a green thumb, and last year was the first time I got plants for the balcony. Hopefully it can survive my inept care and curious toddler.
posted by Rora at 4:05 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


What's growing is my peace lily. I've had it for seven years, and its failure to ever bloom during all this time has been something of a personal affront. Then, today, I found what is unmistakably an incipient bloom. The disproportionate joy that this has caused me is a sign of how my horizons have contracted.

On the entertainment front, I've been watching the professor of African history (or literature, I forget) who lives upstairs from me home-school his ten year old twins. The last couple of days the focus has obviously been on science. Yesterday, they were outside on the tarmac starting (small, controlled) fires with magnifying glasses. Today, judging from the equipment they've brought outside with them (bottles, boxes, and detergent), they're about to set off (small, controlled) explosions. I can't get close enough to hear them, but the kids' gleeful body language is enough for me to re-experience the joy of science vicariously.
posted by Transl3y at 4:26 PM on April 18 [21 favorites]


My African violet and my toenails.
posted by Don Pepino at 4:32 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Herr Duck started going bald in, like, middle school. When he was in his 20's he said "eff this", shaved his head and grew a beard. He's been growing his hair out for 32 days now, just to see what it looks like. It's been about 15 years since he's had hair...and there's not much of it left on top. He's going to let me shave some racing stripes in it before he returns to being bald. The beard's getting kind of long, too.

My hair's getting long but it was long to start with so it's not as noticeable. I am considering trying to tint my eyebrows at home. I have super light and rather sparse eyebrows that blend in with my face, I usually pencil them in. Now in the time of Quarantining seems like a good time to try it...theoretically it lasts about two weeks so if I do wind up looking frightening, there will be time for it to fade.

Today is the first really warm day in MN. I did some general yard work: cleaned up and swept out the garage, gently removed the mulch from one of the gardens (lookin' good...wild ginger, mountain mint, and wild strawberries all seem to be coming back), installed the bean poles, inspected the willow grove (lookin' good), and pulled up a tarragon plant that was an annual but I forgot to remove it last fall. I have beans, peas, morning glories and spinach in trays under a grow lamp in the basement. I've mostly given up on using my yard for veggies because of the shady conditions, so I got myself not one but TWO allotments in the community garden this year. The beans, peas, and spinach will stay in the yard though because I have places where they have done well in the past. I'm really, really, REALLY looking forward to having good sun for my tomatoes and peppers at last. AND chatting up the other gardeners (from a safe distance, of course)
posted by Gray Duck at 4:48 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]


I've been growing the number of tiny pieces of embroidery thread strewn around my room as I cross stitch. I've made several rude samplers, and finished a grumpy owl on a group of blooming pricky pears. I'm slowly working through a very easy stormtrooper for my little brother, and a giant globe with constellations.

Last night, I took myself to the ballet! I got dressed up, put on makeup, opened a bottle of wine, and watched the English National Ballet's amazing adaptation of Giselle on Marquee TV. They have a free 2 week trial. It was fun to feel pretty and watch The Arts (and I donated to ENB as a thank you).
posted by ChuraChura at 4:52 PM on April 18 [15 favorites]


Hey, I am glad you posted this. In Vermont even though we've gotten two tiny snows this week people are out in their gardens. I am not a gardener but I am starting to accumulate houseplants. I never really thought about it. I'm not much of a plant nurturer, but I grew up in a house with plants and kinda wound up with one without really thinking about it. It's been nice having little things to fuss over in the house here. Also the plants perk up when the days are longer, as do I.

Also not_on_display and I were talking about what's been hard and what hasn't been. He and I are both basically in the "Get our hair cut every few years" camp so I never even thought about haircuts but I can see if you had a style that needed frequent cutting (or just a short cut you wanted to keep short) that would be a huge negative change and that's what made me think about this topic a little.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:33 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


I 'm watching all 177 hours of the permies.com 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course. Hope to put the principles into practice sometime soon!

Some things got shorter: I cut my own hair!
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:49 PM on April 18 [14 favorites]


He and I are both basically in the "Get our hair cut every few years" camp so I never even thought about haircuts but I can see if you had a style that needed frequent cutting (or just a short cut you wanted to keep short) that would be a huge negative change and that's what made me think about this topic a little.

This is me, and was my partner until they decided to get half their head shaved two weeks before everything got shut down. It’s been, um, interesting. They’re dangerously close to the point where they, in their words, “Look like a Karen.”

Anyway not that I needed another justification for wanting a haircut that doesn’t need to be maintained, but now I’ll have, “In case of a pandemic,” in my pocket when I tell my stylist I want a haircut that requires 0 upkeep.
posted by brook horse at 5:52 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


Mr dbmcd has a huge garden, and just completed a 'bean house' - basically a high tunnel for our various beans, which will benefit from a bit more heat.
We also have at least five side buds on our Violetta artichoke - so artichokes for dinner soon!
My hair keeps growing, but it's not really a problem. I may 'get' to cut the Mr's hair with the clippers if he can't stand to wait until his next haircut - that should be fun!
posted by dbmcd at 6:00 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


My houseplant collection (I’m in lockdown in an apartment in NYC). Plants are available for mail order, and I am taking full advantage of it. At the rate I am going, my entire stimulus check (If it ever comes) will be used to support greenhouse workers all over the country. Good cause, right?

And hair. So. Much. Hair.
posted by AMyNameIs at 6:46 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]


We always run a small garden on our terrace, but this year I am starting everything from seed... we have egg cartons of seedlings everywhere, (one batch of the cold hardier ones went in the ground already, but it’s still too cold for most them outside most nights) and it’s sort of exciting! We are literally watching plants grow!

Usually I grow more flowers, but this year we switched to salads and beans just to have some backup greens. Once we're in the full heat of summer, and the salad bolts, we'll probably switch back to flowers, but for now, it's been fun to have tiny future salads everywhere. ( And there's a little tiny bit of food security there....)

I got my semi annual haircut 2 days before things shut down in NYC, and got to surprise most of my team with a haircut on video calls. I think I'll be back to long hair by the time I see them again.
posted by larthegreat at 7:02 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Pretty much the only benefit of going bald is the switch from paying for haircuts to buzzing it off yourself with clippers. So quarantining hasn't changed my hair regime all that much, for better or worse. Some of my coworkers, however, are just letting it all grow, and watching their hair growth week to week is the best part of video conference calls.

I have idly wondered if a couple of months with everywhere that does hair/skin/waxing/etc closed down will lead to any shifts in preferences or fashions (like for lower-maintenance styles maybe), or if it is just a blip and then things are back to the same?
posted by Dip Flash at 7:14 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I was going to plant some California poppies last spring in a planter on my porch but didn't get around to it and then some kind of flowers were growing in the planter so I didn't want to disturb them. By the time a friend told me they were just weeds, it was too late.

Maybe this year.
posted by bendy at 7:24 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


Nice job, Sheydem-tants!

I'm going to cut my daughter's hair tomorrow, and I'm a little nervous about it. (She's not. According to her, "Now's the time for fucked-up hair!")
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:28 PM on April 18 [10 favorites]


I have tons of garlic, some kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, and chard up, waiting on carrots to germinate. Mint, thyme, and chives are coming back, should probably fertilize or repot. Sent off a check for a seedling CSA so I'll be getting some tomatoes and peppers in a month. Beans and more greens once it warms up.

And I have some oyster mushroom spawn I ordered on a whim - gonna mostly try to grow it in an outdoor straw bed and see if I enjoy it, then consider figuring out a log system this fall/winter. I have a fair amount of shade on my property and would love to barter mushrooms for tomatoes etc which are hard to grow in large quantities.
posted by Knicke at 7:38 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


I think I am finally making progress on addressing the main thing I went to therapy for. Also, the plants are quite resplendent.
posted by ferret branca at 7:59 PM on April 18 [12 favorites]


In April of 2007 I spent $1.39 for a geranium which is blooming on my back porch. I got a volunteer sunflower plant at the corner of my house. I keep almost buying basil to grow in my kitchen window, but then I realize I wouldn't be able to pull the leaves off something I nurture, in order to cook with it. So I don't grow the basil, I let the farmers pick it instead. I want to garden this year, so when my ship comes in I will buy seeds, maybe a couple of biggish tomato plants. I was reading about growing dragon fruit cactus today, it is such a cool thing. It would grow here in some partial shade. The big cactuses around town that I love, are Night Blooming Cereus. I heard that name somewhere when I was a kid, and thought it was wonderful, I only saw it again, today looking up the South African Star Flower I bought at the store.
posted by Oyéah at 8:31 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


The basil is growing nicely. The mint send to be done for.
posted by signal at 8:37 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


As of about two weeks ago, I have a beard for the first time in over seven years. I used to have a huge "halfway through eating a bear and left its hind end hanging out of your mouth" beard, which I had to shave off for this security job. What with having the company get bought, a change of site supervisors, and now a global pandemic, I can experiment with facial hair a little. Gonna have to trim my mustache soon, but maybe I'll be able to maintain it better than I used to.

The old man kitty is growing raggedy as he sheds his undercoat and doesn't clean it all up as well as he could, so I have to fight with him to brush the sleazies out of his fur. I got a furminator-style comb, but he gets knotty faster than I can keep up with, and I might have to shave him again, but I'd rather not. So I'm open for suggestions as to how to deal with that. Cat tax.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:49 PM on April 18 [7 favorites]


A shocking number and variety of tomatoes and cucurbits, some tomatillos and some early jalapenos are growing in 4-inch pots in my boiler room. I have alternating LED grow lights and trays of seedlings on a tall wire shelf. The garden outside has strawberry plants, big healthy hard-neck garlic, peas, carrots, chives, three colors of raspberries, a ton of kale and chard and broccoli, artichokes, blueberries, a bunch of herbs, rhubarb that hated being transplanted and may not make it, and some sad, scraggly beet plants I'm just going to toss and replace with seeds. I built a two-foot-square frame for a pole bean bed today, and I'm planting bush and pole beans and more greens tomorrow. And my crabapple tree burst into luxurious magenta bloom today, which will bring all the pollinators. I also have three flower beds, which are looking lovely and will look lovelier when I get these pots of Icelandic poppies, hellebores, fuschias, and red and purple anemones into the ground. The hops and clematis I am trying to trellis on the chain link fence have come back, the passionflowers will too if I'm lucky, and the sluggish honeysuckle that came with the house has remembered it can grow and is exploding in all directions. There are purple and white lilacs about to bloom out there. My yard smells AMAZING.

Unfortunately the other thing growing is my frustration with trying to work full-time on COVID response while teaching my extroverted five-year-old. I'm annoyed with parenting, I'm annoyed with working, and the combination is making me kind of bad at both. I have the kiddo half time, and this weekend I'm trying to do a month worth of chores while she's not here. This is my procrastination break, after which I am going to go file a bunch of shit without interruptions. I mean, I'm so lucky - I have a job, a home with outdoor space, a chest freezer and a yard full of pretty flowers and nutritious food. My kid and I are both healthy (knock on wood) and safe. But I'm still struggling with this.
posted by centrifugal at 9:02 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


My tomato seedlings are growing, with most of them now showing signs of their first two "true" leaves (except I think this term is harsh on the little seedling leaves that go before, they're all good leaves etc.).

Something that was meant to be a short story that I've had on the backlog for a long time is steadily growing into a short novella. I'm enjoying working on it and it's a relief to have something to distract me from my other much lengthier project which is currently in severe-anxiety-about-moving-forward limbo.

My hair is also growing and has become a minor point of contention between my dude and I - originally he said he'd clipper the back and sides for me, then when I asked him to do so about a week later he recanted. After I probed a little it turned out he was concerned about messing it up somehow - not because I'd be upset or concerned about this (I wouldn't - I don't care and no one's going to see it), but because he'd have to look at his mistake for a few weeks until it grew out. We need to renegotiate this in the next few days as the little fuzzy bits at the base of my skull below the hairline are starting to get long enough to annoy me.
posted by terretu at 1:19 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Our microbe garden has been coming along nicely. In the last month, we’ve begun sourdough starter and done pickled beets (which make a great borscht), kimchi, and multiple batches of sauerkraut (latest with caraway!).
posted by the_blizz at 5:07 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


My baby-bump is growing nicely!

Funny story: I got a text message from an unknown number that said they had something special for me, and suggested we could meet in the super market car park?

(telling my friend this story later she said "omg what.")

It turns out it wasn't, as my friend guessed, drugs, but a nice 80 year old lady from church had crocheted a baby blanket for us- a 'lock down baby blanket'. I drove over to her place and had a socially distant conversation in her driveway. What a lovely thought!
posted by freethefeet at 5:12 AM on April 19 [22 favorites]


Peas! I planted peas the last weekend in March, which seemed crazy for a Minnesotan, but my gardening guru says “if you’re planting peas and your fingers aren’t numb, you’re planting too late,” so I went for it. Then last week we had snow and 15 degree temperatures, and I worried that those little seeds were frozen and/or rotting in the ground. But yesterday they started poking out of the ground! So many peas!

I had been channeling my COVID anxiety into the future of my garden, and even though all of my basement seedlings are doing worse than last year, seeing those peas gave me hope. 1/3 of them are shelling peas that I won’t even eat - my kid eats them raw by the bowlful, but only peas from our garden. I can’t get him to eat peas any other time if the year.
posted by Maarika at 5:41 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


When Maine had unseasonably warm weather, I started cleaning up the raised beds and planted peas and lettuces/ greens, a pot of parsley & cilantro. It got cold again, brought the pot in, am staying by the wood stove, but when I went out yesterday, the blueberry bushes have tiny buds, so maybe winter will end sometime. Messaged with the nursery and they will be doing curbside pickups, so I will be able to get a variety of tomato seedlings in May. And nasturtiums, which everyone makes sure to tell me are edible, but I don't because they are so pretty. Maarika's comment about peas is very reassuring, and it's sunny, so I'll go look once it warms up a little.

Sometimes I just don't want to deal with haircuts, so now my hair is very long, and I trimmed the ends with decent success.
posted by theora55 at 6:48 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]


I've been trying to think about the future in the most practical terms, like when am I going to get to get my teeth cleaned again? Take the car in for an oil change? Have my annual checkup? I have concert tickets for July; will I still get to go? Thinking about the distant future hurts my brain so much. I can basically only plan as far as my next grocery trip.

I was lucky to see my parents a couple weeks before everything started shutting down here, and last week I realized I can FaceTime them using my work computer, so that's tiding us over. My dad likes to point out every time how long his hair is getting.

My book stash is growing thanks to my efforts to keep my local shops alive through online/phone orders. For years I've been primarily a library girl, so my book spending has been disproportionately low compared to the amount of reading I actually do. So I've reasoned that I've simply been holding back with my book budget until the right moment...and here it is! I know I won't be able to single-handedly save my favorite stores but I've got years of spending to make up for and I am hoping it helps. (Especially since one shop is home to my favorite bookstore cat. I must pet her again someday.)
posted by phatkitten at 7:17 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I have idly wondered if a couple of months with everywhere that does hair/skin/waxing/etc closed down will lead to any shifts in preferences or fashions (like for lower-maintenance styles maybe), or if it is just a blip and then things are back to the same?

I have definitely seen some . . . articles? Thinkpieces? Twitter threads? who can remember anymore? . . . where women have made no bones about rethinking the definitions of "professional appearance for women", especially since Zoom/video conferencing and WFH have basically proven that people are perfectly fucking capable of dong their jobs without spending the "normal" levels of time, money, and effort on their appearance.

But I would not be at all surprised if tweens/teens/early20's folks (of all genders) jump right into doing some crazy shit with hairstyles and fashion just because they finally can. (And good for them, say I.)
posted by soundguy99 at 7:42 AM on April 19 [6 favorites]


Tons of bulbs are flowering in my backyard. Purple irises that my neighbors gave me are blooming now. Also all my roses are in full flower. They are just spectacular. Roses.
posted by gt2 at 7:57 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


I finally repotted a couple succulents I was attempting to grow in a glass terrarium thingy; it was never a good pot for them, and I found a better one in the closet during a purge this weekend. They should be a little happier there.

My herbs are doing pretty well - the oregano is going particularly crazy. The lemon verbena has some weird fungus on it and I had to prune it pretty aggressively this weekend and hose it down with neem oil. But it's hanging in there. The basil....maybe not so.

My peace lily is about to put out three blooms at the same time, which is a record. The English Ivy is slowly taking over a corner of my bedroom, but that was the point.

I've given up on one of my mossariums, and continue to marvel about how well another one is holding up even though I literally never water the damn thing.

I also went slightly crazy this weekend and ordered about $60 worth of air plants that will be scattered throughout my bedroom.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:14 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


We're sprouting beans for the kid's school assignment.
posted by pracowity at 9:39 AM on April 19


I dreamt last night that many of the plants that I have lost in the last ten years were all boxed up, dehydrated and waiting for me to re-plant them, water them, and give them sunlight. I had an emergency several years ago that killed many of them off, even my giant aloe, Leo, that I'd grown since it was a little tiny baby. Seeing them all again in my dream was actually really comforting, somehow. There are probably many things that seem dead in my life that are actually just dormant, waiting until they can re-emerge.
posted by k8lin at 10:22 AM on April 19 [11 favorites]


A little more than a month ago I picked up a couple of bags of fingerling potatoes that were on sale, planning on making a potato curry dinner for some friends that weekend--which is when everyone here in Minneapolis started social distancing. I forgot about the bags, which I'd put in a different cabinet than normal, and the stalks they've grown are more than a foot tall now. (I don't officially have permission to plant in my building's garden, but the couple who used to use it have moved out and my new landlord is extremely unlikely to be here in person anytime soon, or to notice or care; would it be of practical or aesthetic value to sneak out and bury them in some kind of reverse-Rear Window situation?)
posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 10:52 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I’m holding out hope that love may be growing between the people in the two houses across the street. One house is owned by a dad of a little boy about 4 years old. His wife moved out a year ago, the divorce is nearly finalized, and he’s been trying to sell the house for months. The older couple in the house next door has decamped to their condo a mile or so away. They too were about to sell their house and move full-time to the condo, but their house is presently occupied by their daughter and approximately 5-year-old granddaughter, who left a small NYC apartment prior to the shelter-in-place rules. The kids seem to get along well as they play from their respective front yards. Even their respective dogs seem to get along. The parents, perhaps initially a bit wary of the situation, seem to be opening up to each other a bit. Their body language is increasingly warm, maybe even a bit flirtatious. Maybe true love will bloom? It all seems possible to me from my vantage point across the street. It’s a nice story, if only in my own head-canon! I’d like a little love to blossom in this otherwise shitty situation.
posted by cheapskatebay at 10:57 AM on April 19 [36 favorites]


The jasmine outside the backdoor is growing, we've had rain the last few weeks and it is sooo happy. Also all the flower bushes which leads to more birds (happy cats watching bird tv) and bees (unhappy phobic roommate but at least she doesn't need to walk through the bee gauntlet to the car.)

What is not growing is my hair, I buzzed it all off yesterday (until the battery died) and neatened it up this morning. I feel so light and un-itchy. Who cares if I look 'enough' like a girl?
posted by buildmyworld at 11:02 AM on April 19 [10 favorites]


My dragonfruit plants are flowering for the first time since moving them to an indoor-only apartment six years ago. And they've grown something like 20 new branches in the last month, despite having even less sunlight since a large new building across the alley is also growing. I guess they just needed company.

My war on scale bugs is slowly paying off. Three months ago I culled a number of the most hard hit large plants, started over with carefully cleaned cuttings, and have been maintaining a strict physical quarantine for the clean plants. There's still one big, old, fuzzy succulent that I'm trying hard to save with aggressive trimming and physical removal. The other infected plants can stand up to soaking and alcohol. Even neem oil destroys this one. I've not seen a bug on it for a few weeks, so it seems like there's a chance of saving it.

The clothes moths in my home are also growing, after half a year without seeing any. So, at least I've now got pets to keep me company.
posted by eotvos at 11:22 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Since you asked: My aggravation with the selfish assholes down the block that had a party last night with enough people in attendance to take up all the street parking on the block. It is precisely that sort of selfish behavior that makes strict stay at home orders and nightly curfews necessary.
posted by wierdo at 11:47 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I cut my hair today! I used clippers, my laptop and a webcam. That way, I was able to get a good view at what I was doing. I've left it as it was on top, but trimmed the sides and back and I'm feeling pretty damn smug about the result. Then afterwards I gave my blue dye a tune-up.

Take that, covid-19.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:13 PM on April 19 [15 favorites]


Buildmyworld, I also just buzzed my head! You look great. I’m happy with mine, too.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 12:23 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


I went out and had a look at the gardens. Arugula is coming up, just barely, no peas yet. Nasturtiums have sprouted. Squirrels are digging for acorns and I need to set the Havahart trap or they will ruin lots of things they don't even like. next to the house, there are daylilies getting to a nice size, and poppies, peonies, irises, globe thistle and others are up. My zoom meeting got canceled, but the garden has lifted my spirits.
posted by theora55 at 12:23 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]


More hair autostylists! I'm looking forward to getting proper equipment and doing it "right" at some point, although I expect my bobs will always be a bit, ehrm, idiosyncratic.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:30 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


I just harvested an extreme volume of spinach and bokchoy, and I'm about to bring in enough chard to last for many months. I wilt my cooking greens and freeze in serving size bags because I am just one person and my garden is very enthusiastic.

My snap peas are starting to give me things to snack on, and my calendula has taken over an entire corner of the yard. I'm rerouting the leggy mint that was languishing in the shady planter so I have plenty of supplies for juleps later this summer.

I'm starting more lettuces and radish, and eyeing a sunny spot to be a home to some zuchinnis. I was not anticipating being here instead of my cabin all summer, so I am making the best of it.

My patient fiance is waiting with baited breath, as am I, for when the border reopens so we can be reunited once more. Le sigh.
posted by ananci at 12:32 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


I stress bought and re-ported three tiny succulents on March 10. One is almost ready for a bigger pot. I also got my hair trimmed while on a trip in late February. I wish I had more taken off, but at least it’s something.

The tulips here in the city are staying upright and continuing to bloom along the streets. It’s really very nice and also kind of spooky.
posted by bilabial at 12:50 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


In Texas news, the iris and wisteria are all finished blooming and the only flowers left are on some native lantanas. Got a vigorous crop of goathead stickers growing in my dirt "driveway." Years ago, in the times before wheelchair, I hand weeded the whole front and back yards and eliminated the goathead menace. But now the driveway has become infested and it's way hard for me to get down to pull weeds. I used to pull a few on my way to the car, but I have only driven twice in the past month. Now that I'm thinking on it, I better go pull some. Now that it's stopped raining those green stickers are going to harden up to weapons grade. BRB
posted by a humble nudibranch at 1:36 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


My lower belly is growing. 😑 It jiggles. I don't like it.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 4:20 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


Harper has grown from 17 lbs to 45 lbs in the past 2.5 months.
posted by drlith at 5:00 PM on April 19 [8 favorites]


Our lobster trap fence is shrinking on one end and growing on the other as my husband patches traps to get ready for the season. His best friend died six days ago. Lobstering is lonely work and they had each other; now, he doesn't have anyone. RIP RIP RIP, he was a fucking insane fisherman and one of the hardest workers I've ever met. fuck heroin.
posted by pintapicasso at 6:25 PM on April 19 [17 favorites]


Pumpkins. Nothing but pumpkins all the time.
posted by lollusc at 7:51 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


A humble nudibranch, those goatheads are a scourge. If you can get your hands on a propane weed torch, they are easy and extremely satisfying to use.
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 11:32 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]


My parents brought over a number of plants before moving into their condo a few years ago. I spent part of the weekend cleaning up some leaves and brush and have really enjoyed seeing those little green shoots start to come up.

I've had some personal growth with my son with some really good conversations about how it's 100% okay to have bad days and the harder we try to get out of a bad mood can often times extend the bad mood. I'm really proud of his ability to identify when he needs self care. He, like I, struggle finding the words so it's been really great to talk about how it's understandable when a feeling is present but we can't quite describe it.

I also cut his hair for the first time and while I used to tip my barber well before all this, I'll surely be tipping him even better when I can finally go back.
posted by Twicketface at 6:01 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


I just posted a couple of photos on Facebook of these ridiculously dramatic bruises I always seem to have.

Three different friends said get a doctors appointment now.

These bruises have been coming and going for at least a year but I’ve never had the attention span to do anything about them.
posted by bendy at 8:20 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


bendy, I have thrombocytopenia (iTP)—chronic low platelets, which are part of the clotting process. When I first developed it, I would notice these tremendous bruises and not remember how I got them—now I know that I can, for instance, bump into a door frame and end up looking like I was in a car accident. I once had a concerned friend ask me about domestic violence, because I so often had large bruises on my upper arms.

I've been living with it for almost 20 years, and never needed any treatment except during my two pregnancies. I hope you're able to get checked out, and the answer is as relatively-benign as ITP, and as low-stress as mine has been.

phatkitten wrote: My book stash is growing thanks to my efforts to keep my local shops alive through online/phone orders. For years I've been primarily a library girl, so my book spending has been disproportionately low compared to the amount of reading I actually do.

This is my experience, too. I read a lot but rarely buy books. Just before the lockdown began, I spent a lovely afternoon in our local indy bookstore, browsing through pretty much every section of the store as I put together a care package for my young-adult offspring now living the next state over. It was a lovely way to spend time, and reminded me how much I love this store. I determined to visit again soon, and spend some money.

And then: the shut down.

Still, I bought $100 worth of poetry from them online the other day, even though it wasn't as much fun as actually being in the bookstore. I bought another $90 worth of books and pamphlets from a Quaker bookstore even knowing that I could get nearly all of them in my meetinghouse library once the meetinghouse re-opens. And I put together another care package for the kiddo at bookshop.com, the newish site for ordering from indie bookstores.

It's not easy for me—I don't want to own a lot of stuff, and would like to own less stuff than I have right now. But I do like to own poetry, so going on a poetry spree was a lot of fun. And, as for the rest, I've decided it's OK if I buy books right now that I plan to donate as soon as the library opens up again.

A thing that's hard for me is my growing pile of library books I'm done with and ready to return—our local library isn't taking returns until they re-open. I have some very low-level OCD symptoms that my therapist and I haven't worked on because they don't impact my life in any meaningful way, and my urge to return library books I'm done with—even if their due date is weeks away—is one of them. So what if I make the occasional extra trip just to drop a couple things in the return slot? Or if I add "drop off books" to a list of errands?

But it's surprisingly hard for me at the moment, having all these books I'm finished with and can't get rid of. I might have to box them up and put them in my trunk to see if that helps. I don't do well with things hanging open that could be completed and checked off.

My family is struggling. We have three children still at home; the oldest, about to turn 19, has severe mental health challenges and will not, or can not, participate in treatment. She's very difficult to live with, as you can imagine, and all the rest of us cope, in part, by taking breaks outside the house: my partner, who bears the brunt of the 19yo's demands, really needs the 8 hours of being at work when our daughter understands that he is not here and can't be expected to help her. Our almost-13-year-old says he would pay just about anything for a really exhausting four-hour gymnastics practice. Our 16-year-old is spending a lot of time online with friends, as usual, but misses getting out of the house, as well. He has really suffered from being overlooked by my partner when our daughter is demanding, and so he has really loved going out to meals with my partner, or with me. Just before the shutdown, the four of us who were not housebound by mental illness were developing a habit of going to a morning movie on Saturdays (cheap tickets before 11!) and then out for lunch. Now that's on hold.

I had to begin a Facebook break today. The mix of admonishments, preaching-to-the-choir, virtue-signaling, "look at this terrible thing that happened," and "admire my gourmet meal and fresh-baked bread" was really getting to me. I'd muted so many people that my feed was made up mostly of names I barely recognized. So I'm giving myself a rest.

Fortunately, I have some outlets and some help. I'm in therapy, my partner and I are in therapy, my Quaker meeting is doing online worship, a national LGBTQ Quaker group I'm part of is doing online worship on Saturday afternoons, and a friend and I watched a movie together the other day. I hadn't done online distance movie-watching before, and it worked out just fine.
posted by Orlop at 9:29 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]


I had hair growing to my waist, which I like the feel of, yeah. My daughter kept saying don't you need a haircut? I will PAY, I will take you to the woman who cuts my hair...no comment on her cutters abilities. So, in a fit of passive aggressiveness, I cut it myself, and it was an awful mess, somewhere between trailer park tweaker and a seventies mullet. So, I paid someone to "fix it." Two weeks ago, I was liking what it was doing, and now it has moved into some other territory. My reflex is to just not look at it, until sometime when I notice, I like the shape of it again. How long that will take is not worth guessing...I am only three years out from the length I like, as long as the plague doesn't take me.
posted by Oyéah at 10:36 AM on April 20 [5 favorites]


Hair and beard. Amazing. I could pass for a hippy Santa.
posted by Splunge at 4:24 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


haven't mustered energy to shave head; shaved beard last week but it is coming back nicely.

couple weeks ago little lurk helped me weed the garden plot and watched me turn the dirt with a pickaxe before we planted dill, beets, carrots, kale and snowpeas. little lurk liked the worms and wanted to feed them. after little lurk went home i put up the fence to discourage rabbits. so far there are no recognizable sprouts except one little bean plant. expect there will be some volunteer cherry tomatoes from last year's windfalls in there somewhere. today i dropped some sunflower seeds into some holes in the dirt in various sunny spots around the yard. kinda doubt they'll be viable, but maybe. if past efforts are any indication, rabbits will eat most of what may sprout. have a pleasant glut of wild mustard greens growing, i guess, where last year's birds shat last year's seeds (or i dropped them en route to the mulch pile). mowed around a few, then came back to harvest leaves for a little sauteed provender salad with some dandelion leaves and dead-nettle tops. it was not excellent, but for the innate excellence of provender; guess it garnished some noodles ok.

the daffodils and tulips are done, except one persistent flower out back. the japanese painted fern is coming in nicely. bleeding heart and bluebells blossomed. columbine (which i hadn't torn out as weeds mistakenly thinking it might be more bleeding heart) is coming in with a few flowers. lungwort did it's pretty, little thing; spiderwort hasn't yet. the forsythia has passed, the azalea and clematis haven't yet. not sure if the weigela -- a sad little thing too much in shade and clay for its comfort -- will flower; it always seems like it is trying to die, never more than hinting at the magnificent cascading spectacle in my mother's yard. the trumpet honeysuckle has some little red nubs, but i wouldn't say it is flowering yet. the gladiolus and candy-lily shoots are beginning to rise, though it seems quite early for that to me. blueberry has flowered; rose of sharon still looks dead. no sign yet of the calla lilies. hydrangea are green but not flowering yet; rhododendron looks weary and sad -- also no flowers yet. the cherry tree is a week past full bloom, when it sounded enough like lots of nearby beehives that i was quite careful walking near it. i don't think the berberi hasn't flowered yet; recall that the bees really like it too. haven't checked on the little shoots from where i killed the lilac tree -- kinda ambivalent about that stinky thing. wow that's a lot of flowering plants! think i ought to get some of those irises that look like an explosion in an underwear drawer, but no rush, i guess.

there are dreams. couple disturbing back-to-back sex dreams last week. not back to back sex or disturbing sex (though the anatomy might not have been quite right), back-to-back dreams, disturbing dreams. involving eroticness. or what passed for eroticness in the dreams. that was kind unusual, beyond the unusuality of having or remembering dreams at all, which i have been doing quite a bit more than i'm used to, lately. also been sleeping kinda weird: lots of 1-2 hour naps on break from erratic work-from-home sessions. no dream journal for me: it is not a thing i do (or remember having done) enough to have developed the habit, and i'm not sure i would want such a record out there. there is a dream i'd like to recount, involving bernie sanders, the breakdown of society and cannibalism in post-apocalyptic surburbia, but i don't think this is the time. i can still taste the rancid longpork. told a sort of work buddy about it back then & he offered the interpretation that it was about socialism, which was amusing at the time. lately i've been musing that it might have been prophetic.

relyricized another song & posted it to mefimusic. worked a whole bunch. have almost finished all the food i have on hand. pissed off some friends by insisting the difference between a diagnostic test with data-derived specificity and sensitivity values and one that has no values based on no data is significant, and, i guess, other grim pedantry.

started teaching little lurk how to hold their hands at the piano electronic keyboard and play a scale; tried to teach "do-re-me" song, singing. will have to revisit. little lurk's bike riding continues, but the child seems kind of bored riding in circles. tell me about it, kid. i don't have a (working) bike, and am nowhere near ready to ride together anywhere that involves the possibility of traffic anyway. we've been reading stuart little. little lurk was incredulous to hear that i thought curious george -- and cat in the hat -- is a book: thanks a million, PBS "educational" television; wtf are you thinking? need to obtain a copy of the house on pooh corner stat. and that's that. take care, y'all.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:35 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Only growing hair, though maybe a porch herb garden would be possible. Growing accustomed, as much as one can be. My anxiety seems better and I think it's mostly that there was toilet paper at my last store visit, which is dumb, but whatever works. My brain had marked No TP as a sign of the apocalypse I think.
posted by emjaybee at 8:46 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Stuck in quarantine with a 6- and a 3-year-old, this year we decided to turn the gardening up to 11, both as a distraction we could throw ourselves into wholeheartedly and as an excuse to get the kids outside for long chunks of time. We've converted almost the entire front yard into garden. We're in the city, so it's only about 300 square feet, but seeing so much space taken up by dirt with little seedlings poking defiantly upward feels SO MUCH BETTER than seeing grass and weeds. This year we're upping our game from herbs and shrubs to tomatoes and blueberries/raspberries, and it's super intimidating because baby blueberry and raspberry bushes are so tiny compared to what they look like when mature and fruiting. Who knows if we'll get any yield out of any of it, but the kids are really excited at the prospect of growing our own fruit, so I'll take it.

Also growing: last year's mint, which apparently spent the (warm) winter sending out shoots everywhere. We started digging on the other side of the lawn last week, and couldn't figure out what the shallow leafy shoots we kept running into and needing to tear out were. Turns out spearmint is basically kudzu, and we should've heeded the warnings and kept it planted in pots. Still, seeing a nearly-30-foot-long creeping root growing out of a single mint plant is kind of inspiring, even if it's a pain to have to rip out. This summer, our mint juleps shall not go wanting.
posted by Mayor West at 6:42 AM on April 21 [5 favorites]


My friend has been looking to buy clippers to groom her dog. She says there are none to be found on the internets, everyone is out! I guess everyone is trying to trim their "Dawg!"
posted by Oyéah at 9:37 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I'm growing tasty probiotics in some cabbage I'm fermenting on my countertop (i.e.: sauerkraut). My first batch ever. I tasted it yesterday after it had been sitting about 5 days. It smells and tastes like sauerkraut, so it's a success. I'll let it sit longer and see if it gets even more delicious.
posted by hydra77 at 11:26 AM on April 21 [4 favorites]


Other growing things -

There's a tree on the sidewalk just outside the front window; I have a view of it from my favorite chair, and I've taken to sitting there in the morning over coffee and watching it.

All winter it was just bare branches, a couple of broken twigs dangling from bits of stubborn bark; and the ubiquitous brown house sparrows or starlings occasionally flitting through it. But a couple weeks ago I noticed a pair of cardinals were checking it out; then a couple days later a blue jay also visited. A week ago I was almost late for work because I spotted a woodpecker diligently at work, and I was fascinated watching him. He's been back a few times.

The buds started to come out on that tree about the same time that the woodpecker showed up, and the leaves are about half-grown by now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:54 AM on April 21 [3 favorites]


As I have mentioned on the blue, I have MS. One of the most common symptoms of this neurological ailment I have is depression, which in my case is currently manifesting itself as an overarching glumness at pandemic enthusiasts insisting that this whole pandemic thing is a hoax and now is the time to open everything up again and let’s get out there! As with so many things in the Before Times, it is the interaction with large organizations that causes the aggravation of this glumness.

The missus and the offspring were heading out this afternoon for the once-every-week-or-two grocery run. Our daughter likes to print off a grocery list and disdains actually writing one by hand or carrying the iPad it was composed on; fair enough. When she printed it off, she mentioned that she got a low ink message when she printed. I said I had seen the same message for something I printed a few days ago, and could I ask them to pick up a replacement ink cartridge at the Staples nearby while they were out? It was not urgent, but they may as well while they were nearby.

She came back a few minutes later and said they are doing only curbside pickup, so I would have to order it online. I did this, and indeed had to create a new account to do so, as Staples no longer recognized my old account, last used maybe a year ago: as well, despite their pushing the pickup option, the link for pickup on the site merely leads back to the delivery page, where I could receive it in 2-3 business days. Under the “how do you want to receive your product?” the default is delivery. And when I say default, this is like Henry Ford’s default colour for your car. Lacking any other alternative, I placed it as a delivery order with the local store’s address as the delivery destination.

Despite plenty of splash messages on Staples’ website saying it would be available within two hours and that I would receive an e-mail telling me when it was ready, I saw no e-mail. Everyone had left by then to pick up the groceries, so I sent our daughter a text to put Staples in at the end of the loop, after the grocery place, the bulk food store, and such.

After some two and a half hours, they returned. Any luck with the ink? No, sez daughter, they didn’t go to Staples and she knew not why. My wife said, “Oh, I didn’t think it would be ready today.” Our daughter reminded her that she had read out my text aloud, but her mother made a gesture to indicate it had just passed over her head.

I for my part was wondering if my order were to sit there for a week or two until we were next out and about, would it still be there? (Side note: I am disabled and getting to Staples sans car is not exactly easy.) I checked my bank’s website and sure enough, Staples had processed the payment. I asked my wife if we could go pick it up. Somewhat testily, she agreed — being pit stresses her a bit in the current situation.

It is snowing and hailing on and off today, so I put on some appropriate clothing. We drove to Staples and as requested on their site, I called in to say we were here to pick up an order from earlier this afternoon. The CSR, Justin by name, checked and said he had nothing still waiting to be picked up (this was ~30 minutes before closing). He asked for the order number from the e-mail. I mentioned I had received no e-mail, so his immediate response was to ask again for the order number in the first paragraph of the e-mail I should have received.

I explained the situation as above. He said with no order number, there was nothing more he could tell me.

By the way, the store was open. There were the now-common signs about giving other customers six feet of clearance, etc.

We returned home. On a hunch, I checked the old e-mail account I no longer use, the one I used when I set up an account with Staples a decade ago. There was my confirmation e-mail. Yes, they sent me confirmation of my new account to my current address and then confirmation of an order four minutes later to an address I haven’t used regularly in five years.

Armed with the order number, I called Justin again and we had the entire conversation a second time. Now he was able to confirm that I had ordered it from the warehouse, and it would be in store in two or three days. Do that actually have any of these inkjet cartridges instore? Of course. But I have ordered form the warehouse, so it will be in in two or three days. Could I cancel my order, or even get it redirected to my house? Not through him; only through the website. I opened up the website while I was on the phone with him and asked if he could give me some guidance as to how to cancel. He directed me to a nonexistent menu at the bottom of the page. I said I suppose there was no chance that I could return and pick up the cartridge, which we all agreed I had already paid for and which we both understood was being shipped to his store? Quite impossible, of course. He then expressed a somewhat forlorn hope that he trusted he had been helpful today.

In short, the printing of things that did not need to be printed off led to a notion to get some replacement ink, which could have been done by walking into the store. Now it will require a second trip in two to three days.

Tl;dr — I suddenly understand how Karen got to be Karen.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:02 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


So due to the virus and people staying home, etc. the floral department in my supermarket was inundated with perennial flowers that didn't sell. For the whopping price of $1 a BOX, I bought two boxes of hyacinths - all six inch pots with three bulbs/flowers in each pot. Eighteen pots in all! I planted them yesterday (and of course, now we have freeze warnings for tonight, sheesh). Hoping that most if not all come back next year. I've had pretty good luck with hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips from past cheap bargains, so keeping my fingers crossed.
posted by annieb at 3:10 PM on April 21 [5 favorites]


@ricochet biscuit: I've had similar difficulties with Staples. Orders that disappear; not ready despite no need for them to take that long; etc. And it seems that their online ordering has 2 different areas completely - there's one section for product orders, and one for printing orders. Neither talks to the other. When I went in for a print order that takes Office Depot just 2 hours, Staples needed 28 hours to get it figured out. The clerk couldn't cancel the order in person, and I couldn't cancel it in online, so I had no choice but to go back another day to get my order.

When I got an email survey about my experience, I gave them the info on my fiasco and gave their manager permission to contact me. She did, and we talked. She agreed to refund my money. Guess what never got refunded. :/
posted by hydra77 at 3:50 PM on April 21 [3 favorites]


I have thrombocytopenia (iTP)—chronic low platelets, which are part of the clotting process. When I first developed it, I would notice these tremendous bruises and not remember how I got them—now I know that I can, for instance, bump into a door frame and end up looking like I was in a car accident.

Thank you Orlop, now I have a place to start my research. That sounds like what happens to me. I was feeling under the weather and spent the last couple days in bed and I now have even more big bruises then I did Sunday night.

I'm sorry your family is struggling. Putting everything on hold is really hard, and spending so much time inside with your 19-year old daughter sounds especially difficult. I'm sure you wish your other kids could do the things that they really want to.

I think putting the library books in the trunk of the car is an excellent idea.

Stay safe and well. This too shall (crossed fingers) pass.
posted by bendy at 7:46 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


I'm missing my allotment but happily had a bag of potting compost unopened in the wardrobe of the spare room (one of several Cupboards of Doom in my flat where all the things I don't quite know what to do with go to live).

My local supermarket had a few seeds, so I am growing little pots of basil and mint on the window sill. The mint is so much slower to germinate and grow than the basil - who knew?! And one pot of wildflowers, which should obviously be outside and might wilt or fall over indoors, but what the hell.

I've had some kind of virus which may or may not have been corona, am feeling SO much better than I have been, but my lungs are screwed - I've gone from running three times a week to barely being able to go for a walk without my chest aching. So it's just short walks and a little light yoga for me, but that's not the end of the world. I live by the sea so I am lucky with the walk I can take from my front door. And I'm still in that grace period of thinking "Oh, hey it's so amazing not to feel really ill!" which is kind of nice.

My small radius for exploration does mean that I can't make it down to my allotment on my daily exercise. Which is a shame, becuase I currently have down there a third of a tonne of compost sitting in a big bag, waiting to be dug in. Would love to bring some of that back home so I can grow salad leaves on the window ledge too, but c'est la vie.

On my walk today, I noticed that the lovely fishmonger's by the old stone harbour was open and didn't have the usual socially-distanced queue stretching along the boardwalk outside, so I went in and bought some salmon and a delicious sounding bag of smoked paprika and other stuff to steam it in.

Sending internet love to all those of you having a hard time.
posted by penguin pie at 9:33 AM on April 22 [5 favorites]


I've already worked 30hours this week (it's noon on wed.), and needed a mental break, so I just said eff it, and transplanted all the lettuce seedlings I've been babying along. They've had 4 weeks in trays, all had good roots/4-5 leafs, and I'm really hoping that yesterday was the last danger of frost. (Usually I consider mother's day safe, but lettuce is supposed to be frost hardy right?)

I figure the seedlings are all a solid 2-3" below the edge of the pots, so out of direct wind, and I'm excited for them to have more room and GROW. (It was getting to the point where I didn't think they'd grow bigger leafs in the egg cartons, and oh boy this frees up surface space inside the apt!)

Since compost drop off has ended in NYC, we've been cutting up our food scraps (fine it's 70% coffee and tea leaves) super fine, and then stirring it up regularly with a bit of soil in a bucket- sort of a diy compost heap (definitely not really decomposing in this... April weather though) and I decided to lay a handful or two of scraps on the bottom of the containers. I'm hoping that when they do decompose they'll won't produce enough heat to hurt roots, and that maybe it'll add a few more nutrients? I'm making it up as I go along here. It did use up most of the 5 gallon bucket of food scraps, which means I can keep collecting food scraps/ attempting to compost. I'm hoping by summer we'll be able to drop off scraps again, it makes me nervous to have compost in NYC given how creative rats can get here.

So that's exciting. I've got 6 containers of greens and lettuce that hopefully will grow up, out and add a bit of fresh green to our diet.

And if they fail, I'll go back to picking up way too expensive seedlings at the farmers market, and leave starting things from seeds to the experts.
posted by larthegreat at 10:09 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


I've gone clean-shaven in the hope that I'll touch my face less. It seems to be working but right after I shaved my son saw me, laughed and then said "you're uglier!" I'm telling myself he doesn't understand the difference between "you're ugly" and "you're uglier" (he's 5).

My house has become a greenhouse because we started our seeds early in hopes of having good sized plants by the time it is warm enough to take them outside. We've ended up eating some peas that've already grown and a couple of the cucumber plants have gotten quite large too. Next year we probably won't start as early.

There are also 25 strawberry plants on the way (this was all ordered pre-Covid) and yesterday I was planning out the planter I'm going to make for them. I needed to calculate the length of a side and first resorted to graph paper so I could just draw it out, then later used some simple trig to calculate it properly, and once I got the answer realized that simple geometry would have gotten me there pretty quickly and easily.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:31 AM on April 22 [4 favorites]


Now that it's been a week or so, my peace lily is ramping up to put out not just three blooms, but five! It also has a couple of yellow leaves I'll need to trim this weekend when I water everyone.

Still a bit worried about the fungus on my thyme; it looks like someone had really soapy hands and shook them, and a couple flecks of the suds spattered on my thyme. I've been spraying it with neem oil, but I still see occasional "suds flecks" here and there. Any ideas?

The air plants are all over the place now. One is an enormous thing about the size of a softball that I've named "Herman", because a thing that large should have a name. One is a big sprawling thing that would fit athwart a dinner plate; it has some paler green shoots coming out of the middle that I'm not sure yet whether they are new branches or buds for flowers. One I've gotten fond of just because it looks kind of like a long version of those bamboo whisks you use to blend matcha. There's a little cluster of them in a glass globe I had, as their own little terrarium, and all the others (6 more, there were about 10 in all) are perched on little bud vases and teeny dishes and other stand-type things (one is perched on a broken doorknob). I'm going to rig up a shelf in my room soon to house them all.

The oregano and sage are really starting to fill out. I didn't need a chicken when I went grocery shopping this morning, but seeing the sage and rosemary and oregano do so well made me think "....oooh, roast chicken sounds good" and the shop had plenty so I got one, to apply some of those herbs to.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:31 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


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