Monday, December 27, 2010

Hovering around freezing

This morning was the second in a row following a night during which the temperature dropped to the vicinity of 32 degrees. Vehicles parked under trees had no frost on their windshields; those left in more exposed positions did. Hyacinth beans in some locations are finished for the season. The same is true for cosmos and lantanas. Lantanas and hyacinth beans in more sheltered spots are fine. Chile plants in pots came indoors for the two nights; pots of herbs and asclepias had old bedsheets thrown over them and emerged in excellent condition, as did some nasturtiums (although other nasturtiums suffered at least some damage). Thunbergia alata suffered not at all, and today we enjoyed some flowers. Leaf lettuce in pots look as good as ever. Spider plants, purpleheart, and sagittaria in the ground seem to be fine, as do all the fennel plants, wherever they are. Large schefflera and sansevieria in pots on the catio were untouched by frost, so they'll stay outdoors a while longer. There was not even a skim of ice, nor were there any visible ice crystals, in the shallow plant coasters that we leave out on that porch filled with water for the creatures.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

For listening on vinyl

Because all radio stations have been playing what we don't want to hear, we've resorted to some of the old standbys:

1. A Nonesuch Christmas H-71232
2. Michael Praetorius: Polychoral Christmas Music Nonesuch H-71242
3. Symphonies and Fanfares for the King's Supper Nonesuch H-71009
4. The Baroque Lute Nonesuch H-71229
5. Boulez dirige Debussy vol. II; Images pour orchestre; Danses, sacree et profane; Cleveland Orchestra CBS Italiana 72725
6. Musica Pianistica di Mendelssohn: Fantasia in fa diesis minore, op. 28; Variations serieuses, op. 54; Rondo capriccioso, op. 14 CBS Italiana 51149
7. Mendelssohn Scotch Symphony and Hebrides Overture; Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic Columbia ML 6376
8. The Salon Orchestra: Classic Cafehaus Music Pro-Arte Digital PAD-136

Track listings are linked where found, whether in LP or CD format.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

After the chills

So now we've had two nights of supposedly below-freezing temperatures. On both these nights, we ferried pots of torenia and a couple of the largest chile plants indoors and then returned them to the open air the following morning. One of the chiles has a few blossoms, perhaps from being indoors and somewhat warmer. Not even the basil in pots has been tinged by whatever the coolest temperatures were around here. As to flowers, we continue to have a very few morning glories, quite a few Bright Lights cosmos (although many seed heads are forming), fennel, nasturtiums, pink oxalis, paperwhite narcissus (in just one clump so far), a few wild sunflowers, and thriving thunbergia alata, along with violas and cyclamen blooming in pots. There has not been the slightest skim of ice on any containers of water. There are still some loquat flowers, although most have now been pollinated. We see many bare pecan trees in the neighborhood, but ours still holds on to about a quarter of its leaves. We see both white-wing and mourning doves. A week ago, as the sky was just barely beginning to show signs of incipient dawn, two armadillos crossed the street. I've never seen two together and it has become quite rare to see one at all. When the sun is strong, even at this time of year, we occasionally see an anole or a tree lizard. We still hear resounding reports as acorns drop onto metal roofs, but there don't appear to be many more to come. Some creature is feasting on all this mast, to judge by the empty acorn shells everywhere.