Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pink Sunrise

Just as a tongue-in-cheek post at my readers who follow this blog from states other than the gardening utopia of Kansas, I present to you the sunrise of yesterday morning, taken on my short drive to work.  It's only an i-Phone picture, completely unedited,  but I think it represents why I persist in fighting the flint rock and prairie fires to garden here.

The colorful sunrise turned into a really nice, sunny afternoon suitable to be outside sans coat, and ProfessorRoush took the afternoon off to trim the ornamental grasses off, mow the remnants of the tall prairie grasses, and spray dormant oil on the fruit trees and roses.  What a blissful day!

Totally aside from the beauty of yesterday morning, are others on Google's Blogger having trouble using the blogger interface because Blogger has stopped supporting Internet Explorer?  Google seems to be forcing me to go to Google Chrome and that's just going to be a cold day in Kansas because Google Chrome, frankly, sucks.  I'm about ready to switch blogging platforms if they don't reconsider, and if I get fed up and that happens, I'll post the new link here and hope you migrate with me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bit of Yellow

Here is it again, another sign of an incredibly early Spring.  My first glimpse of yellow Snow Crocus (Crocus chrysanthus) occurred this year on 2/22/12.  The previous record of my notes was on 2/25/09.  In 2009, I have a note that the forsythia started on 3/6/12;  which means that we're only a couple of weeks off of undeniable Spring.  And I've done absolutely nothing yet to clear the garden, dormant spray the fruit tress, or cut off the ornamental grasses. As it so happens, though, this afternoon is supposed to reach a sunny high of 67F, so I'm already planning to play hooky after lunch.  See ya tomorrow with a full report!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Thanksgiving

I'm still in a posting funk (and busy as heck doing other things), but I can't let Valentine's Day pass without some mention of the things I love.  I'd been thinking of writing a post about the things I'm thankful for, so the two seemed to coincide nicely this morning.

I love Mrs. ProfessorRoush, whom I'm currently trying to aggravate by growing a goatee (got to keep them on their toes!).  It doesn't seem to be working since she hasn't yet mentioned it, even to comment on the gray creeping into it. Or maybe she's only pretending not to care to get my goat.

I love my daughter, diminutive clone of Mrs. ProfessorRoush, despite the throes and trials of her teenage years.  Only this morning, she was mentioning how her first choice next year for college apartments was just across the street from the Vet School.  I think she was reconsidering that choice after I mentioned how happy I was that we could then have lunch together every day.

I love my son, enlarged and enhanced clone of mine, lost into the wilds of uncivilized Colorado.  That apple thinks he's far from the tree, but keeps rolling back towards the trunk as he ages.

I love my extended family, far flung and always only a call away.

I love my day job, with hundreds of patients and clients, especially when I'm happily ensconced in a surgery where the world shrinks away from my consciousness.

I love this blog, the relaxation and release I get from writing it, and the hundreds of friends I've met through its creation.

I love my garden, verdant despite the Kansas winds, sun scorch, drought, ice, and fires.  And the many roses growing within, like 'Hope for Humanity', the deep red soul of my garden.

I love my blue Jeep, with its spare tire cover message of "Life is Good", because indeed it is.

And yes, despite my put-on moans of woe, I love this hard, stony, clay sodden, infuriating Kansas landscape, golden rust-brown now in the deep of winter.  Signs of spring lie everywhere, as hope slowly fills the sunflower field in the eternal summer of my soul.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Slick Catalogues

Oh, the catalogues!  Pictured here are some of the many catalogues that arrived chez ProfessorRoush in the snail mail during the month of January.  Mrs. ProfessorRoush, I think, was quite put off in the last few weeks by the number of catalogs laying in stacks on the various end tables and nightstands around the house, judging by the number of loud sighs and sideways disapproving glances specifically designed to stimulate my actions to sort and remove them.  I am most certainly a trainable husband if the correct stimuli are used to elicit the desired Pavlovian reaction.

I must confess that the deluge of brightly colored pictures contained within all these unsolicited pages is pleasant, but they are wasted on me in this winter of my discontent.  In fact, I am always skeptical of the power of advertising to sway my purchases and this cold winter I am completely immovable.  There are some firms represented here that I feel offer stellar quality plants or seeds, and others that I view with a little less charity, but all in all, I found little this year to entice me, even as I starve for green pastures and colorful borders.  I glanced through all of them, and I'll likely come back to one or two particular catalogs that may have a few treasures, but otherwise, I'm just not in a plant buying mood this year.

I've always doubted the cost-effectiveness of unsolicited and mass-mailed catalogues, no matter the field.  The days of the Sear's catalogue dominance are long gone.  I can't fathom how much profit it took just one of these horticultural firms to produce a colorful catalog and distribute it to their hundreds of thousands of potential customers.  In this day of the Internet, however, I feel that there must be far less expensive ways to reach consumers.  Even when similar catalogues have opened my wallet in prior years, I only order a few plants from each company, probably not enough merchandise to make producing it a profitable enterprise for them.

If you are reading this, you company presidents and CEO's, my advice would be to eliminate your advertising budgets along with the slick-talking leeches that create those fleeting enticements, and place the savings towards reducing the costs of your plants.  Word of mouth in the social media will take care of the rest.  Most of your loyal customers are happy to search out your plants on the Internet, reminded by a timely special email or electronic notice, or just reminded by their own greed to purchase another 44 roses for that new bed.  We don't need reminders stuffed into our mailboxes and we don't want to max out the credit card balances for our yearly fix.  My apologies to the millions of marketing people I just recommended for unemployment and the for the further losses to the beleaguered US Postal Service, but, like lawyers, a few less "ad men" won't be missed.   And Mrs. ProfessorRoush won't have to move stacks of catalogues to dust the furniture.


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