Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Snow Squeaked

As an X-Montrealer, I've always thought, these silly Southern Ontario folks, they don't know what cold is.  It isn't cold until the snow squeaks.  Every January after about 10 days of sub-zero (F) temperatures, when you walked on the snow, it made the oddest crunchy squeaking noise.  A noise I haven't heard in years.

But this morning, I was transported back to my childhood.  Back to the memories of zippered snowsuits, buckle boots and wool scarf bits stuck to my Vaseline-d face when I heard The Snow Squeak.  Mercy.  I'd seen the gas bill - up 70%.  I'd scraped off the car daily.  I'd watched Kevin axe through 10 cm of ice to get to the storm drains.  But somehow, I couldn't believe it could be that cold.  Well.  It is.  It's -18C; -27C with the windchill.  And for the first time in the 33 years that I've lived in this part of Ontario, the snow squeaked.  I really did have the right idea with staying inside eating short breads with my new Netflix subscription until it was all over in the spring.  And Bart, who doesn't fancy outerwear agreed.

Speaking of spring.  I'm going to a press conference this afternoon about Canada Blooms.  Theme is "Wild".  They'll be previewing some of the designs and offering a honey tasting.  Frankly, the whole idea of looking at anything green will be completely welcome.

Also wanted to boast a little.  For the first time ever, I've got a re-blooming amaryllis.  Nothing like a little success to cheer me.  This is about my 3rd try.  What I did differently was I put the bulb in its pot outside in the spring in a shaded position.  I watered it as I would any other potted plant all summer and every week (or when I remembered) I fertilized it along with all the other pots.  It was remarkably uninteresting during the summer - large strappy leaves and nothing else.  However, I did notice that the bulb size increased by about a third.  

When it started to get cold, I cut off the leaves and sat its pot in the garage and forgot about it until the beginning of December.   The garage is coolish.

I brought it back into the house and started to water about once a week.  It took 3 weeks or so until I began to get leaves and only leaves.  But then, 5-6 weeks after I'd brought it in, presto - a flower bud, and a couple of days ago, I discovered a second.  Whoohoo!  I have become so drunk with my ability to get amaryllis to re-bloom, I've asked my mother to hold onto her 3 that she got from the grocery store so we can have our own colourful grove next year.

This photo was taken a week after the first.  It really is a terrific plant to try if you're ever want to get someone interested in growing something from a bulb/seed.  I still remember my Grandma Phillips sending me one by mail with her blue-ribboned typed cultivation instructions so many years ago.  The only thing I'd recommend for anyone who decides to go with a kit, is to substitute a heavy clay pot so that it doesn't all keel over once it becomes bloom-top-heavy.

And, I can say with authority that growing Amaryllis is infinitely less calorific than eating short breads while binge-watching TV series.  Although both activities are effective distractions from squeaking snow.


Kim and Victoria said...

Nice! I'm hopefully watering a second year bulb....

Kim and Victoria said...

I forgot to mention just how cute Bart is! What a sweetie.