Wednesday, March 21, 2012

jeepers peepers

eeep peeeeeepp peep beeduonk! eeeeep eeep krr eeep peeep beeduonk! eeep eeee eeeep krr kr eeep eeeep peeep krrr eeeep eeep peep

For a week, this has been the sound coming from the marshy woods at the back of my yard. The spring peepers are out in force, along with their friends who go "krrr" and "beeduonk!" If I had a great big boom mike I'd go out there and record it for you, but suffice to say, if you haven't heard peepers before, the above is but a shy approximation of the actual effect. Peepers sound a little like a car alarm, and a little like the shrill crescendo of atmospheric static-y tones played in horror movies when something bad is about to happen. I may just perhaps have come up with the latter when home alone one very dark and humid night over the past weekend  (cat doesn't count, anyways he spent the evening staring just beyond my head with a concerned expression, so that was no comfort). Oh, I know! Listen to the last track of the Neko Case album Middle Cyclone, "Marais La Nuit," and turn up the volume a few ticks past comfort. There ya go.

I have heard spring peepers many times before, but I've never lived somewhere where every moment at home at this time of year proceeded with a relentless backdrop of eeep-peeping. But relentless as they are, I will tolerate the spring peepers because I've always had a soft spot for amphibians, and I'm hoping they and their hopping friends will eat the giant mosquitoes that breed in the neighborhood. Also: do frogs eat ticks?

So hey guys! BBQ at my place! Anyone!? Anyone...?

 I transplanted lettuce and herbs last night serenaded by the spring chorus. The lettuce was starting to send roots groping out the bottom of the yogurt cups, so I gave them a nice new home in some cedar window boxes. Why of course, I always garden by moonlight and frog-song, it brings forth the sweetest piquancy in herbs, so says my grimoire...*

lettuce and radicchio (two rows at right) by porchlight

basil (front), two kinds of lettuce, and parsley by porchlight
Tomatoes, cilantro, dill, chives, and hollyhocks are also coming up, but they are not so photogenic right now.       Eggplant is nowhere to be seen... hello eggplant germs, are you alive? Come on up! I installed most of my young plants, along with the dwarf citrus trees,** on the sunporch, which is very warm during the day and fairly humid. I do not have a heating mat, which they (the green thumb they, not the other they) recommend for eggplant and tomato germination, but the sunporch--which if I forget to leave a sliding door agar can be upwards of 90 on a sunny day--should be sufficient, right?

I leave you with a query: Should I harvest my lettuce piecemeal, the cut-and-come-again method, or should I let it leaf out into a big leafy bouquet and then harvest it?

*I do not have a grimoire, mores the pity.
**The citrus trees, Meyer lemon and kumquat, are sending out explosions of leaves right now, as if they'd been impatient to do so. This is very nice as I was not sure if the kumquat was alive or not, it didn't really do anything growth-like since October. The Meyer lemon, poor thing, keeps trying to flower. I keep pinching off its copious flower buds (perfuming my fingers deliciously), feeling mean, but it is too young to be trying to fruit so promiscuously. It must wait until it is at least 2 and is stouter.

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