Gnom-On!

Gnome gnomon sundial in my garden

Gnome gnomon sundial in my garden

OK, I couldn’t resist… It was all of about $22 at Costco. And every garden ought to have a Gnome… but what finally tipped me over the edge was the hat with an acceptable bank angle. Not ideal, but OK.

So now I’ve got my Garden Gnome (indicating a touch past 1 PM in the picture ) being the gnomon of my sundial.

For now I’ve just placed some regular tiles as the hour markers. Over time, I ought to make each one a curved line marked for date and time (as it is, as the seasons turn, the hours will not consistently hit the same spots. The tip of hat shadow will move north / south with the seasons). In the present position, I only get usable shade free sun from about 10 am to 4 pm during winter, so I may end up picking a more sunny place.

Also you can see how I have ‘dog run’ portable fencing around the garden squares so the bunnies can eat what ‘leaks out’ or clear a square when I take the fence down end of season, but not nip all the young radishes just pushing up their first leaves behind the Gnom-on…

Things I do when I’m not very focused and just want to relax for a while…

At any rate, after a few months measurements, I ought to have a clue if I can plant specific flowers at each point on the dial or if the precision isn’t good enough and I just need to do a tile field. I could easily see a field of those small 1/2 inch or so bath tiles with white for the field and lines of black dots for the hour in each month. Then looking at the dial with the ‘tip’ of the shadow 1/2 way from May to June on the 1 pm line of dots would tell you it was about May 15 at 1 pm …

For now, it’s an easy way to tell how long I’ve been in the garden during prime sunburn hours… and a bit of a chuckle…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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21 Responses to Gnom-On!

  1. PhilJourdan says:

    And here I thought he would be your new traveling companion, instead of a stay at home sundial. ;)

  2. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Garden Gnome Gnomon. Cool sundial idea. pg

  3. Nice! , Good idea!, need a fairy too. Doesn´t need Merlin the magician…..got your magic wand?
    BTW: Where is it your stonehenge?
    Without any pretense we are at your round table!

  4. BTW, PG, when will that artifact of your photo fly?. You know, witches really flew. I read it, many years ago, in a magazine of La Roche labs, that witches used to rub all their body with a concoction, part of which it was Belladona, so they fall in trance and fly in the astral body to their Sabath gatherings.
    You see, only their EMF part flew away :-)

  5. jim watt says:

    Ingenious!!
    But it follows, ” Go big or stay a Gnome”

  6. Peter Czerna says:

    Cool gnome. Like the lantern.

    You need to sweep the path though…

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Peter Czerna:

    The hard part was getting him set up so the light from the lantern gave the proper reading on the sundial, and then getting him to move his arm at just the right speed ;-)

    The pavers between the garden squares cover most of the back yard. It is only slighly “path” and more like “bunny digging preventer” lest the fencing be pointless….

    They basically never get swept, though when I plant a square they get hosed off as part of the planting and then hosed off again whenever I water that square. The water going into the square as irrigation.

    During winter / rainy season there is no irrigation so no ‘water sweeping’. There also tends to be no real garden work… and the trees are dropping crap all over and…

    So rest assured, all will be cleaned sometime in the next month as spring planting begins in ernest. (FWIW, I actually already DID plant the square just behind and to the left of the Gnome. You can see radishes poking up. So about 1+ weeks ago those pavers WERE hosed clean. Then we had a couple of windy days…)

    And some time in the next couple of weeks I’m planning on planting the square to the front right of the Gnome and things will get cleaned again. (At that time I’ll likely also reset the four pavers straight back from Mr. Gnome that have ‘settled’ and sunken a bit. The ones just before the dirt edge where “bunny land” begins). Of course, within a day or two we will have some more wind and the pavement will look almost exactly like it does now. Sooo:

    Pick one:

    Come over and live in a tent in my back yard sweeping the pavers morning, noon, and night each day
    OR
    ignore the stuff that gets on the pavers in a working garden surrounded by loads of growth of bushes and trees and bunny hiding places and with daily help from 1/’2 dozen bunnies at distributing “bunny favors” and “nibble ends” on their walkways.

    I’ll await your phone call before clearing a space for your tent…

    ( It really is amazing to me how many people can know perfectly well how I ought to be living my life to their satisfaction… and how I never can get them all to agree. The spouse, for example, wanted me working on the plumbing instead and the daughter was SURE that I would be happiest if I was making money to give to her…)

    BTW, my last temperature was 99.7 F, so I’m getting a bit better, by a few tenths of a degree… That I was able to set up and take the picture at all, and make a posting of it, while fevered ought to be ‘enough’… but I guess some folks figure if you haven’t died you can damn well be sweeping the garden… Lucky for me, I’m not one of them. Nor will I ever be.

  8. Peter Czerna says:

    Glad to hear your temperature trend is downwards. Hope the thermometer is located correctly.

    That path wouldn’t happen here in Switzerland is all I will say…

    I dread to think what must go on in California when paths can be allowed to get like that.
    We train our rabbits to be clean and tidy – and then we eat them.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Peter Czerna:

    So, I ought to be clearing that space for your tent? (BTW, you do not get to eat the rabbits… though they are allowed to sample your tent and any other materials left laying out…it is their yard and managed for their benefit. You will be expected to provide bunny snacks to them ‘upon demand’.)

    BTW, I thought I made it clear above: This IS NOT a “path”. Behind the Gnome near the top is where the garden turns to dirt in “bunny land”. These are ‘digging preventers’. And while I may sometimes use them like a “path” (expecially this central 3 wide area) the original garden plan had these as bare dirt. They don’t go ‘to’ or ‘from’ anywhere, just demark squares that are tilled. The stones are only there so that the bunnies do not simply travel underground (which they demonstrated to me they could do in about 1 hour…). That also, btw, is why there are some ‘settled’ areas. Those are places where prior tunnels were filled in and have since compacted.

    So I’m quite happy that you have no wind nor trees in Switzerland and things never fall on your pavement.

    As for California, we’re busy doing things like inventing the personal computer, the iPod, iPad, internet routers (think Cisco), semiconductors (think Intel), and a few other minor things… So I’m glad you find sweeping in the garden so much more important than inventing the future… probably explains that coo-coo-clock fetish…

    (Sheesh… I’d have expected a more centered view of life… then again, he is a bunny murderer… and by his own admission… I’ll have to inform the SPCA… I wonder if they have a vivisection unit in Interpol?…)

  10. Peter Czerna says:

    Rabbits (‘Küngeli’): We don’t murder them – we recycle them, particularly if they mess up our ‘bunny digging preventer assemblies’ (‘Gartenwege’).

    ‘Cuckoo clocks’: If you are going to be offensive to the entire Swiss nation by propagating vile untruths such as this I shall have to review your place on my favourites list.

    Germans in the Black Forest make cuckoo clocks. Swiss make precision watches and eat rabbits.
    BTW: It has always interested me that Orson Wells’ (apparently ad libbed) remark in ‘The Third Man’ could be so remembered, despite being so wrong.
    Switzerland: Cuckoo clocks? Nah. 500 years of peace and democracy? 500 years of bloody strife, more like. No great inventions? Nah – Rabbit stew!

  11. Fabio says:

    very original !
    do you know there is an international archive of sundial in http://www.sundialatlas.eu ?
    It would be very appreciate.

    Fabio

  12. Malaga View says:

    some folks figure if you haven’t died you can damn well be sweeping the garden… Lucky for me, I’m not one of them. Nor will I ever be.

    Music to my ears…
    Or should that be eyes because I read those words..

    Either way… keep on trucking…

    I hope you don’t find this medicine too sweet and sickly :-)

  13. Paul Hanlon says:

    Gosh E.M., you must be really fired up by this to do it with your temperature the way it is.

    Thats a great idea to use mosaic tiles. Being so small, you could even put different coloured tiles for different starting times for growing things.

    They can be got very cheap and once you have them laid out over a year, you’d not only have an accurate sundial but a very interesting centrepiece / talking point. Now you’ve got me fired up :-).

  14. colliemum says:

    Radishes coming out in February?
    Naked, i.e. without a cloche or agrifleece??
    Gawd – I’m soo jealous!
    I can’t even think of starting to dig in my mud-bath, which is the back garden …

    I hope you’re feeling much better already by the time you read this, Chiefio.

  15. H.R says:

    Well, as my Uncle Shorty (His name was Beverly – no one dared to called him that!) in Texas would say, “I’ve been progitrating” on this post and the comments.

    I like the gnome (full stop).

    It won’t work for me but I do have a full-size crane (the bird type of crane) by the koi pond that’s about 1m tall. It keeps the other cranes away as they seem to respect the ‘dibs’ convention. We’ve lost a lot of koi that got upwards of a pound before being eaten by cranes.

    I’ll have to check to see what the angle of his bill might be. I could move him to another spot by the pond where I could make use of the shadow. I’ll have to wait for all the snow to melt before I start fooling around with that, though.
    .
    .
    .
    Oh, BTW. Does the gnome’s lantern work? If so, you got a clock that will work at night, eh? ;o)

    (Ok, ok. It’ll be only right once during the night, but that’s a better batting average than most politicians, no?)

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Peter Czerna

    ‘Cuckoo clocks’: If you are going to be offensive to the entire Swiss nation by propagating vile untruths such as this I shall have to review your place on my favourites list.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo_clock

    The “Chalet” style, the Swiss contribution

    The “Chalet” style originated at the end of the nineteenth century in Switzerland, at that time they were highly valued as Swiss souvenirs.

    There are currently three basic styles, according to the different traditional houses depicted: Black Forest chalet, Swiss chalet (with two types the “Brienz” and the “Emmental”) and finally the Bavarian chalet. Commonly found in the latter type of clock, is the incorporation of a Swiss music box, the most popular melodies are “The Happy Wanderer” and “Edelweiss” which sound alternately. Along with the common projecting cuckoo bird, this style of clock may also display other types of animated figurines as well, examples include woodcutters, moving beer drinkers and turning water wheels. Some “traditional” style cuckoo clocks feature a music box and dancing figurines as well.

    Here you can even watch an animation and buy one:

    http://www.loetscher.ch/film.htm

    (Note the “CH” Swiss domain…)


    Germans in the Black Forest make cuckoo clocks. Swiss make precision watches and eat rabbits.

    So if you are going to continue to make disparaging remarks about my interspecies friends I shall have to review your posting privliges…

    I’d also suggest a bit more time spent shopping in Switzerland especially in the departments that sell Swiss made CooKoo Clocka…

  17. Peter Czerna says:

    Good morning, Mr Chiefio, sir!

    Sorry to have threatened your bunnies and cast aspersions on your tidiness, but: Cuckoo clocks are German. Period.

    Wikipedia English – that fount of wisdom – has 10 zillion lines on cuckoo clocks – all about GERMAN cuckoo clocks. Five lines are concerned with alleged Swiss cuckoo clocks – and these you quote.

    Of the ‘Swiss’ clocks we have two Swiss chalet styles, then a ‘Black Forest chalet’ (German) and a ‘Bavarian chalet’ (German), the most popular melodies for which are: ‘The Happy Wanderer’ (German) and ‘Edelweiss’ (Austrian).

    In Switzerland, business is business. If tourists want a cuckoo clock, we give them a cuckoo clock. We don’t ask questions.

    However: If you go to the ‘Deutsch’ version of the Wikipedia article you will find NO mention of Swiss ‘chalet style’ clocks. If you search the page for ‘Schweiz’ you will find one hit:
    ‘Im Ausland gilt die Kuckucksuhr als Symbol für Deutschland, allerdings IRRIGERWEISE auch für die Schweiz und Österreich.’, i.e. ‘Abroad (i.e. outside Germany – the article was clearly written by German) the cuckoo clock is a symbol for Germany, indeed also ERRONEOUSLY for Switzerland and Austria’.

    Just out of interest, French Wikipedia has a short piece on this Teutonic monstrosity, in which they make no mention of Switzerland. Of course, being French, they won’t let a contradiction stand in the way of a good movie quote (bloody Orson Welles, of course):
    « (…), pendant 30 ans en Italie sous les Borgias, ils ont eu la guerre, la terreur, des meurtres et des massacres, mais il y a aussi eu Michel-Ange, Léonard de Vinci et la Renaissance. En Suisse ils ont eu 500 années d’amour fraternel, de démocratie et de paix, et qu’est-ce que cela a produit ? Le coucou ! » dit par le personnage Harry Lime (joué et écrit par Orson Welles) à Holly dans le film Le Troisième Homme, réalisé en 1949 par Carol Reed.

    Let’s stop this now while we are still sane. You go and feed your rabbits and I’ll think about lunch tomorrow…

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Melaga View:

    Love that song… always have. FWIW last night I was at 99.5 F and now I’m at 97.6 F … go figure… Looks to me like the fever has broken and now we are ‘ringing down’ back to the ‘normal’ setting of 98.6 F (or so I hope).

    There is a tendency for many folks to have trouble seeing where the end of their nose happens to be and keeping it in their own yard. These same folks are always sure they know exactly how best for others to live their lives and spend their days. Collections of these folks just LOVE to be on “rules committees” and “housing associations” and the worst of the lot end up as Congress Critters with the occasional Profound Case of the Little Hitler Disorder going on to be a Petty Dictator (as was recently deposed in Egypt).

    This tendency to “Butt-in-itis” seems to be worst among the Germanic peoples. (It can be quite extreme among my Amish ancesters, who, BTW, wandered from Switzerland through Germany on their way to Pennsylvania)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish

    The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish. These followers were originally from three main places: the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, Alsace (now part of France), and the Palatinate of Germany. In the early 18th century, many Amish and Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Today, the most traditional descendants of the Amish continue to speak Pennsylvania German, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch. However, a dialect of Swiss German predominates in some Old Order Amish communities, especially in the American state of Indiana.

    My “clan” was from the Ohio / Indiana area.

    Even prescribing the method of dress down to the absence of buttons, of colors that can be used to paint a barn or horse cart, and the exact rituals of courtship.

    Now, while I cherish my Amish roots, I can also say that they are quite clearly not the Leading Lights in innovation nor are they particularly free as a people. Thus the tendency for large numbers of youth to pack up and leave the communities (as did my Grandmother when she committed the “sin” of marrying an “English” – who happened to be all Irish… but I digress).

    Even though my Father was raised in a ‘mixed home’ (Amish / Catholic) he was still raised with a large dose of the Control Freak environment they both represent, and try as he might, still carried some of it in his character (though he did mostly ‘get over it’). Even me, 2 generations removed, still suffered from bits of it from time to time (though I have almost fully recovered).

    The end result is that I have spent dozens of hours as a kid ‘straightening square nails’ as my Dad and I took apart and rebuilt the ‘garage’ that was really a one carriage sized horse barn… because it was ‘a sin to waste’ and even though you could buy a bag of new nails for nearly nothing.

    Yet that “almost” remains. I have more jars than are sane. Why? Because they ‘are valuable and it is a sin to waste’. Yes, I use them for all sorts of things. Yes, they are canning jars so I’m sure that next season I’ll plant a larger garden and can more and “it would be a sin to waste them”. That’s about the only residual left. But it still takes some work to slap it down.

    In it’s extreme expression, this “urge to control others” accounts for most of the ills in our world. From Iatollas and Popes mandating and directing religeous conflicts to Little Hitlers and Stalins and Pol Pots and Woodrow Wilsons all “directing” their countries right down the road to wars. ( If you think Woodrow Wilson does not belong on that list, read some of his history first, with special focus on organs of social control and advocacy of war discipline as good. I have.)

    So when someone wants to suggest that, oh, I ought to be living my life as they think fit and my time is better spent hanging on a broom than photographing a bunny, well, I see them as being of a particular mind set that has brought more havock and distruction to the world than any other. Now maybe they too can “get over it”. But the history of the world argues otherwise. It seems that each generation must change and the old ones just die.

    If it were up to me, I’d force the whole world to accept that their right to mandate things ends at their own yard. ;-)

    @Paul Hanlon:

    It’s “an Aspe thing”. When an idea has a hold of you, it simply can not be ‘set aside for a while’. It would not have mattered if I’d been having nausia and tossing my cookies. I’d have put Mr. Gnome in the yard and set out the tiles. It just had to be.

    Now, being ill, I didn’t do any of the ‘nice to have’ things. I didn’t pick just the right spot (one row over but presently shaded by a Sage Bush that would need a transplant) and I didn’t wash the tiles (that have old dirt on them from sitting in a corner of the yard for 2 years … they were from a prior experiment that I may post on some day) and no, I didn’t even sweep (nor would I – it contributes nothing and the water sweep comes soon enough). I also got to sit between things in my garden chair and sip hot tea ( a theraputic process) so it wasn’t particularly onerous.

    Carry box to garden, sit in chair with tea. Open box and extract Gnome. Place in semi-random spot. Sit in chair. Go in house with box and make second cup of tea. Sit in chair… Move Gnome over 6 inches for better coverage of “2 pm” and position 2 pm tile. Come back the next day at 11 am. Position tile, drink tea. At noon position tile, go in for a while. At 1 pm, drink tea and position tile. Sit in chair. Take photograph.

    That’s about as “inactive” as I can be unless I’m flat out asleep. I’m also pretty sure that the enhanced Vit. D levels from the sunshine help in the recovery.

    @H.R.:

    The lantern is purely decorative. Though it did cause me to ponder building a Gnome with a movable arm and real lantern that would cast a clock shadow… More work than I’m willing to take on right now, but “doable”.

    BTW, having the gnomon raked at the same angle as your latitude is a nice feature in that the ‘settings’ don’t change over the year / seasons so much; but it is NOT essential.

    If you mark the ground with hour lines that curve with each season you can use any veritical object as a gnomon. It just takes more markers. ( i.e. 12 months x 8 hours = 96 stones instead of 8 lines – or 144 if you have 12 hours of sun and / or get up in the morning ;-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_clock

    Human shadows

    The length of a human shadow (or of any vertical object) can be used to measure the sun’s elevation and, thence, the time. The Venerable Bede gave a table for estimating the time from the length of one’s shadow in feet, on the assumption that a monk’s height is six times the length of his foot. Such shadow lengths will vary with the geographical latitude and with the time of year. For example, the shadow length at noon is short in summer months, and long in winter months.

    Chaucer evokes this method a few times in his Canterbury Tales, as in his Parson’s Tale

    It was four o’clock according to my guess,
    Since eleven feet, a little more or less,
    my shadow at the time did fall,
    Considering that I myself am six feet tall.

    An equivalent type of sundial using a vertical rod of fixed length is known as a backstaff dial.

    So you can just just “pick a spot” on your Flamingo and Go For It!

    @Peter Czerna:

    I never started anything, so I have nothing to stop. You, however, are quite welcome to go contemplate lunch (provided no lagomorphs are involved) as I go back to my garden with a fresh cup of tea in hand to watch my Gnom-on clock and contemplate the calendar of ‘forest litter’ (which does a very nice job, BTW) while I trim some branches off of the (runaway overgrown just the way the bunnies like it) sage brush to feed my hoppy friends.

    You ought to be aware of my Philosophy Of The Mirror. I am, in most things, a mirror. When treated kindly, I am kind, when rocks are thrown, they are returned. So, should you will less rocks “incoming”, simply stop throwing them.

  19. P.G. Sharrow says:

    “Benign neglect” is my description for my gardening style. There are some things that need to be done and done on time. Anything else is optional. The plants don’t care and I have too many other more important things to spend my time on. The only person I have to satisfy is myself. Neat freaks are just that, freaks. pg

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    One of the things that generally drives my interests is “minimalism”. Makes me a pretty good manager as I’m always looking for the most efficient minimal resource use path to a result. Sometimes this drives other folks buggy…

    So I have “Darwins Garden”. I plant things. If they survive, I plant more of them. If they don’t, well, that’s not a low input plant… I make compost by the simple expedient of tossing all the crap in a pile. No, I don’t turn it, water it, or anything. After a couple of years I’ll bury the resultant “stuff” in a square that needs to be re-dug for some other reason.

    I originally made my squares by just “double digging” and putting the grassy top bits in the bottom. Shoveled in whatever other plant stuff was laying around in the middle, then put the last dirt on top. I repeat the process about once per 4 years per square. (In between, it’s just plant something, maybe turn it under at swap of crop time, and rake smooth over seeds. Sometimes I’ll just sprinkle a couple of inches of compost / mulch on the top…)

    I use no sprays. ( A nice crop of insectivores now calls my back yard home. Wasps – that NEVER bother me – along with various birds and spiders. All my friends.) After year 2 I had about the same yield as with sprays. Now my ‘losses’ are nearly nill. The last major issue was leaf miners, but some naturalized tobacco plants at the corners now trap the leaf miners that all just die in the eggs. I do nothing to perpetuate the tobacco plants other than sporadic overspray water from watering the garden.

    SOMETIMES I’ll weed (but only if the weeds are winning…) Mostly I just make sure they get turned under between crops. Only real issue is a persistent spurge that I can’t get gone without roundup. I’d not care at all other than if a touch of the sap makes it into your eye you end up in the hospital E.R. with eyes on fire (and I have…) so I’m contemplating an erradication campagne against it with Roundup…

    Oddly, I’m actually much more fond of wild places than of formal trimmed gardens, so the ‘regular squares’ is a mild concession to the needs of “tile barriers” being in squares. I’ve never quite understood why folks “Ooooh” and “Aaahhh” over wild natural places, then chop it all down and plant sterile butchered things they then call gardens…

    One of my ‘slow hobbies’ is developing “perpetual squares”. So I’ve now got a sorghum that has established a perpetual root / growth. I’m now ready to let it take over a whole square as a ‘grain square’. At that point I do NOTHING. Similarly, I’ve got established Runner Beans that have resprouted from the last year roots (at least one year, this will be year 2 if they survived). Eventually I hope to have a “Perpetual Runner Bean Square”. I’ve also got my Kalards hybrid that is a perenial leaf bearer. I’ve got about 1/2 a square of it where last year’s plants self seeded the next batch. I intend a full square of it and will then need do nothing for those “greens”. I’ve also found a “perpetual wheat” seed, but not bought any yet.

    The whole idea is to eventually have a zero labor garden.

    The Avocado tree that is in one square will eventually be a perpetual provider of loads of fruit (provided we don’t get so cold as to kill it…) At present it shares the square with perpetual onions that will need an eventual transplant.

    The downside of all this is that I’m having fewer opportunities to develop varieties. The upside is that more of the garden is zero work. (That one square with both Runner Beans and Kalards in it will need one or the other transplanted… but what makes it interesting is that I’ve let all the leaf litter from the ‘flowering pear’ tree just land in it and stay as natural multch. Also a branch is touching the tops of the wire frames, so the beans just climb up the tree each year. Zero trellising work! )

    IMHO, “neat freaks” are the way they are partly due to an inability to handle high complexity and low control. To trust in self organizing. So the leaf litter is “messy” as they don’t see it flowing naturally into mulch and they can’t accept the ‘loss of control’ of only planting something that WANTS that mulch. While I find it more interesting to do exactly that, find the thing that wants the natural state and will reward me with zero work….

    Another example is that the square just to the front / right of the Gnome in the picture (the bit of brown behind the tuft of grass) is covered with about 1/2 foot of “crap”. The bulk of it leaves and stems raked off of the square that now has the radishes. It had been tomatoes last year. So when I ‘raked off’ the old crap, I just raked it onto this other square. And it looks like a pile of crap. Why do that? It’s smothering the weeds that were growing into that square…. In a week or two I’ll “turn over” that square and bury whatever has not begun to compost about 1 shovel depth down. It will eventually breakdown and fertilize what grows. So with one raking off, and one ‘turn the top’ I’ll get weeding and fertilizing.

    Given that, the idea that one of my squares has a messy pile of dead stuff and some fall leaves on it doesn’t look bad at all to me. It looks like efficiency…

    colliemum

    Radishes coming out in February?
    Naked, i.e. without a cloche or agrifleece??
    Gawd – I’m soo jealous!

    Well, I probably ought not to mention this, but there are Black Spanish Radishes that one can grow here nicely in the dead of winter…. Also things like Turnips and Parsnips are best grown in winter. Along with some carrots and a few other crops like the Kales and such.

    I’m tempted to start some tomatoes right now (normally we set them out in April) and sometimes you can get away with it… but it’s not clear if I can do it this year.

    Every year we get a few weeks of “False Spring” toward the middle / end of January. Then the cold returns. The weather report for tonight says we get the cold back next week. So it might still be just a bit early to celebrate these particular sprouts… It will be a bit ‘touchy’ if we get a freeze again.

    The other half of the problem is that mid-summer we have zero water. Yeah, you can grow anything, IFF you are willing to put about $200 / month into the garden water bill… So I”m expecting a bit of rain in March to mid-April (though it is not assured). Then it goes dry and stays dry until about October. 6 months of drought… Every Single Year. Sometimes 9 months of drought.

    Because of this I’ve been learning how to grow a more consistent “winter garden” and I’ve been investigating things like Teparary Beans that are desert beans…

    So yeah, be envious… but remember that this climate comes with a very big water problem…

  21. H.R says:

    @E.M. The lantern bit from me had a ‘winky’ and sunuvagun! you’d already considered it. That has definitely got to be as you say, “an aspe thing.”

    Thanks for the other info on backstaffs etc. After I wrote from work I went home and looked at the crane. The crane’s bill was at a 90 to the ground. But I think that with the info you gave, and a bit more reading on my own I can make it work – maybe just 9:00, noon, and 3:00 and then interpolate between the marks.

    Thanks again. Fun stuff!

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