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Saturday 30 May 2009

The Garden Continues To Grow

Although not necessarily in the way I might want. We have harvested a lot of fresh herbs and romaine, and CVH cooked up a mess of fresh greens this last week. Add to that the rose blossoms, and we are starting to get some payback. Still, I fear that $69 tomato looms in my future.

Today's additions:

cucumber & tomato plants, 3 sweet potato slips: $14.14

trellises, cantaloupe plant, and 3 okra seedlings (the ones I planted last month look pretty sickly), Miracle Gro: $32.76

Categories: News from Louisville

Monday 25 May 2009

Roll Over Beethoven

And tell Tchaikovsky the news. I may be the last Beatles fan to know this, but I met these guys at the Beatles Festival this year that run www.beatlesradio.com. So point your browser that way when you need your Beatles fix.

Sunday 24 May 2009

Beatlemania twice again

Well, it was a nice day again, and the Beatles festival was still going on, so...down to the Belvedere we went. We caught another set of Itchycoo Park, some of The Blue Meanies, The Trouble With Boys again (they played Back in the U.S.S.R. at a tempo of about 150 and halfway through kicked it up to around 200 - you gotta be young to do that at the beginning of your set). We heard the Cryers and finally a nice bunch of guys from Cincinnati, The Savoy Truffle, who did Abbey Road all the way through (and we didn't even have to have them all pulled out afterward).

We watched this young couple at the festival. At first, she got up, moved around and tried to get him to dance, but he would just stand there, feet firmly planted while she danced around. However after a couple of hours, he was moving his feet and dancing around with her as you see here. Another testament to the persistent American female.

We also caught a showing of Kentucky Show!, an audio visual presentation by a group of Kentuckians who want to promote civic involvement among their fellow citizens of the Commonwealth (near as I could tell, anyway). They do this by showing an brief overview of Kentucky history, ecology, geography, and most importantly, the activities and priorities of Kentuckians. It's a brief show, and to the point, but the credits roll on for so long that we were beginning to expect to see our names go by as they had already named everybody else in Kentucky.

Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 23 May 2009

Beatlemania once again

You can set your watch by it - the annual Beatles festival in Louisville. We made our third trip today and had a great time. Itchykoo Park sang "Itchykoo Park", we shared a corn dog, and we watched the crowd.

The Beatrips
One band with a particularly loyal following is The Beatrips - four mop-topped guys from Kyoto. Their English isn't so good, but boy can they play! You can see the crowd that turned out for them in the shot from backstage (we're way, way in the back of the photo).

The Trouble With Boys

Another band with a lot of energy was The Trouble With Boys. Although these guys aren't even old enough to drive, they have the guitar licks down (they played noticeably better than at least one band of grown-ups that we heard).

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 17 May 2009

Gentlemen, start your engines?

Yes, today we started our engine and went to Indianapolis, but no, we didn't go anywhere near the Speedway.

The view from Crown Hill

It was a beautiful day: sunny, dry and temps in the upper fifties to mid-sixties, so we decided to fire up the Bimmer and visit outdoor areas of Indianapolis. Our first stop was Crown Hill, one of the largest cemeteries in the United States. The grounds showcase an arboretum of stunning trees; I can't begin to imagine the amount of arboreal care this huge enterprise requires (much less how many people it takes to mow all that grass). It's called Crown Hill because the cemetery has the only hill in Indianapolis, Crown Hill. Houston is the same way – the only place in Houston where there is a hill is where they put the fancy cemetery (Howard Hughes is buried there). We went to the top of the Hill, saw the view of the skyline (and verified the fact that there are no other hills), and saw the resting place of President Harrison.

Dillinger's Gravestoone

We also saw the gravesite of another famous Indianapolis native, John Dillinger. The headstone is heavily chipped by souvenir hunters, and security keeps a pretty close watch on you while you're in the area. In the photo, you see that some people leave coins on his stone. I don't know why.

Then we went around the corner to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to visit the extensive gardens there. Today the Indianapolis Bonsai Society was having a show, and the specimens were absolutely amazing. Such huge trunks, small branches, and in such shallow dishes make model railroad layouts seem too easy.

CVH at the "Allee"

The museum has its own gardens, as well as those of an old Lilly estate that was next door. There's a large formal garden, the allee, which is European in style, and leads down a broad expanse bordered by trees. Off to the side of the mansion is a ravine garden and another small formal garden today used for a lot of weddings. There is also a large mall in front of the museum where you will see Robert Indiana's famous bit of '70s kitsch with a fine patina of rust on it.

Then we went downtown, intending to drive around the famous circle but it was closed for the indy 500 children's festival. Amazingly, there were hundreds of families there, but we did not see a single port-a-potty. I looked for a story about this in the online Indianapolis paper, and found that the festival organizers where expecting 30,000 children, but I didn't even see a letter to the editor about the lack of toilets. Maybe Indianapolians (?) don't use port-a-potties?

The old canal on the west side of downtown has really been cleaned up and the state government complex doesn't look like a drab government building at all (at least from the outside); it looks more like some major corporation headquarters. How did they pull that one over the taxpayers? A real treat down along the canal is the Indiana State Museum. Outside the front door is a really cool steam powered clock that plays a few bars of "Back Home Again in Indiana" every fifteen minutes. Ol' downtown "Naptown" has really woken up!

Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 16 May 2009

Private Gardens

Today we took advantage of the Garden Conservancy's Open Days to see some private gardens in Louisville. The Garden Conservancy is a non-profit that wants to promote people making their own gardens. And the gardens we saw today were really something else. I had heard of people spending a lot of time in their garden (I thought I did), but these were simply incredible.

The Garden Conservancy Open Days is a national program, so you might want to look for it in your home town.

The Cooper-Bush garden's pergola

The first garden we saw was Cooper-Bush. The wife does the front yard, the husband the back. All the gardens we saw were fairly small close-in suburban yards, and so were informal, but this one had a small formal area of close cropped grass, apparently to give their old Boston Terrier a place to pee (I confirmed this when I saw a dog toy in the corner of the grass).

Then we went to the Vaananen garden. Build entirely by the owner on a former dump, there was apparently one of every plant that grows in Louisville on a series of levels that run uphill from the back of the house. She had a “before” picture that showed the site as a wasteland, with trash and concrete chunks all over the place. This garden was developed on a limited budget – of money, at least, if not sweat. It is paved with bricks that she salvaged from a collapsed chimney.

Finally we saw Jo Ann Fischers garden. Even after the jaw-dropping first two, this one was unbelievable. Fischer was an interior designer for twenty years specializing in small urban condos and the like. She is now the garden manager at Yew Dell gardens (which I have blogged about before (21 May 2007)). She has a drip irrigation system with a massive water manifold; it even pushed water up into pots that she had placed on posts along the fence. There were five banana trees in one area (and of course one banana tree requires a lot of attention to get through a winter here, much less five). I counted four fountains; there may have been more. There was even a separate food and herb garden with a large glass-topped germination box. The write-up said that she was skilled in making a complex garden that will challenge you to move slowly through it to experience it all. She had so much stuffed into that yard it was nearly claustrophobic. You could lose a grandchild in there.

In the end, I'm afraid that these gardens don't make you think “Boy, I'd like to have a yard that looks like that!” but rather “Thank God I don't have to maintain all that in my back yard!”

Categories: News from Louisville

Monday 11 May 2009

Peter Cottontail

Today, while I was watering and weeding the garden, the rabbit whom I suspect had nibbled my romaine to the ground sat there in the shadow of the church and watched me the entire time.

He knows my neighbor doesn't like me crossing his property, so I couldn't run over there and run him off. I clapped and shouted but he just sat there and looked at me. I put out my giant plastic owl but he just continued to sit there. I finally walked all the way around the church and came up on him from behind and he ran off, but I know he'll be back....

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 10 May 2009

Mary, Mary quite contrary

No Silver Bells or Cockle shells here, just rhubarb, yellow bell peppers, okra, eggplant, lemon balm, Miracle Gro, and potting soil. Chalk up another $38.03.

Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 09 May 2009

Waggin' Trail Time

The Kentucky Humane Society has two major fund-raising events each year. One is a fancy ball, all dress-up and everything, a little rich for my blood, but the other is an informal event: The Waggin' Trail.

The Waggin' Trail is a festival centered around a 5K run and walk for people and dogs. In addition to the run/walk, there are vendor booths, crafts for dogs (you have to see it, I can't describe it), a dog trick contest, agility demonstrations, and just about everything a dog lover could want. As part of the volunteer staff, I made sure that runners had water at the end of the run, and walkers had plenty of water for themselves and their dogs during their walk.

Due to a rainstorm the night before, the track was what we here call “sloppy”. For those of you who have run 5Ks, you'll get an idea of what it was like when I tell you that the fastest time (without a dog) was well over 22 minutes. But some of the dogs were really fast, several completing the course with their owners in less than twenty-five.

One lady came in much later and much out of breath. “This dog almost killed me!” she said. “He wanted to pass every other dog on the trail.” “A real competitor, “ I offered. “Yes,” she replied, “I'd never taken him on anything like this before. I had no idea.”

I saw one couple with three Jack Russells; they don't have to wonder what they're going to do when they get home, I thought. And there was one big lovable Rottweiler who didn't like drinking out of the bowls that the other dogs had been drinking from, so I gave her a big hug and filled up a bucket with fresh water just for her.

Categories: News from Louisville

Sunday 03 May 2009


Dragon's Wort
We found this herb at the nursery today, and it tasted so good that we had to buy one. It also goes by the name French Tarragon. Chalk up another $3.49.

Categories: News from Louisville

Saturday 02 May 2009

Garden Impostors!

The Black Beauty?

Today's contribution to the Kentucky Backyard Agricultural Front:

Spinach, Eggplant, Green Pepper, and Watermelon seedlings: $6.74

We had such good luck with the "Black Beauty" eggplants last year (q.v. "Hot Fudge Eggplant?" 3 Aug 2008), that I bought two more of them a couple of weeks ago. But they didn't seem to be doing so well, so to hedge my bets, I bought another one today.

After getting it in the ground, however, I noticed that its leaf shape doesn't match that of the other eggplants at all. I guess some of these nurseries get in a hurry when it comes to sticking those little plastic labels in the containers. We'll see what comes up.

Categories: News from Louisville

Friday 01 May 2009

You know the ecomomy's hurting...

On my way into work each morning, I drive past Louisville’s smaller airport (the oldest continually operating airport in the US). Last year on “Oaks” (as the day before the Kentucky Derby is called), the airport was packed with private jets of all kinds and sizes. It was a really cool site.

So this morning (“Oaks” again) I purposely slowed down to get a good look. There were only a handful of airplanes to see.

Categories: News from Louisville