Monday, August 20, 2007

the shrimpii have landed

I did get shrimp. Three. Three little Amano shrimp. They were originally kind of a stopgap measure, as the oto cats at the lfs were not for sale today (they're for sale tomorrow). So, instead, I got shrimp.


Seriously, and very pretty. Photos don't do them justice (which is fine because the camera is still out of commission) but they have this lovely dusting of gold and blue on the surface of their shells that isn't immediately visible, but under the right light it flickers a little bit and it's very pretty. Pleasantly surprised.

Once I'd got them temperature and water acclimatized, they were netted and tucked into the tank, and they have just taken off. They're eating like crazy. You can see their stomachs, and currently it has this green glow. I think I am in love. I hope I don't kill them.

On the other hand, I had to remove one of the Anubias barteri var. azfelli plants, as the rhizome had rotted. I'm not sure what happened there, whether I bruised it or what. But along with the Shrimpii I got a wad of java moss, and hopefully that can fill in some gaps. I'm told it will likely take over the tank, but at this point a little bit of taking over would likely be okay.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

life in the fish bowl

Something else I've managed this year is to get myself happier with my fish tank. I've found it stressful in the past, mostly because I had a pleco who needed a larger tank. And he desperately did. The thing was, I didn't have a larger tank.

So I got one this year, and holy cow has it made a difference. I'm much happier.

I finally, this summer, emptied the small tank and added plant-friendly substrate (Eco-Complete) and planted it heavily with all sorts of plants. Mostly plants advertised as nutrient sponges. Finally, last week I added two pearl gouramis. They're still very small, the two of them, but they are beautiful. Once there are batteries in the camera I'll photograph them. Currently there's a wee bit of an algae problem starting thanks to the fact that the lights are a bit powerful and I don't have enough vegetation in there yet. But that will be solved this week with a small group of oto cats and possibly a few Amano shrimp. Shrimp? Shrimps? Shrimpii?

Heh. I think, if I do get shrimp, I'll just call them the Shrimpii. Like succubi, but less sexy.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

where has the summer gone?

It's been a while. Yes, I know. Suddenly things just got busy and crazy and I didn't have time to update, but things are going well...

The tomatoes all survived, and I'm getting a litre of cherry tomatoes every two days. The beefsteaks are just starting to turn red, and I had my first one this morning as a toasted tomato sandwich. Best taste of summer ever.

The hot peppers are starting to go red too, and we've had a few of those. I think I'll dry a bunch of them, or maybe pickle some. Or make jelly. I haven't decided yet. The sweet peppers are plentiful, and I'll be able to start harvesting those soon, I think. They're all still quite green, but huge.

The beans came and went, and frankly, I just can't eat that many beans. I'll be taking them out and putting the fall garlic in there when the garlic arrives. I ate a lot of green beans, but I wasn't thrilled with the variety I planted anyways. They were supposed to be bush beans but they all fell over, and some of them just refused to grow. And the rabbits didn't help, by chewing them off as they came up. I'm just not that big a fan of beans, so I think the beans will be canned.

The onions I'll have to try again next year. Lots of them didn't grow. The shallots were great, and I'll order seeds next year I think, instead of putting in sets, which are relatively expensive. I don't know what I did with the onions but it didn't work out. I think many of them were attacked by [masochistic] squirrels and the others attacked by gall flies; some of the bulbs I've pulled up had maggots in them.

The flower beds are... well, the front is good, but weedy. Mulch will be necessary. I've ordered some 'May Night' salvia to put in where the lamb's ears are, since the lamb's ears are not attractive in that front bed. For the back, I ordered a dozen dwarf irises to stick in instead of the primroses, and some trout lilies for under the oak tree. And some ferns for fishy.

This year has been instructive; I can see where we're going to need to make changes (ie. salvia vs. lamb's ears; mulching) and I'm getting a better idea of how much work is reasonable to expect from myself. I basically have tonnes of time in spring and I'll have more in the fall, but I'm going to have to try to plant a garden that will mostly run itself during the summer months. I think I can do it. I have lots of ideas. I love that I've got years to do it. It's an exercise in patience and I think I'm actually winning...