Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Today was a pivotal day. While I organized my out of control seed packets (see Late Bloomer Facebook page), I listened to Hay House Radio online, specifically Doreen Virtue. She said that chemtrails, or geo-engineering (the manipulation of the Earth’s atmosphere by spraying heavy metals into it from jet planes, then those particles fall to Earth), GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), fracking (forcing chemicals deep in the ground to extract natural gas) and fluoridation (forcing the public to drink water contaminated with industrial chemical waste) were making our world toxic, but, that we were not to get depressed, overwhelmed, or silent and go in a hole and pretend it isn’t happening, we were to make ourselves aware and speak out! Doreen mentioned, “What In The World Are They Spraying?” as a film to watch about chemtrails.

Since I am very aware of the other four environmental issues, I watched this mind-blowing film, and I recommend you do the same and share it with all of your friends. This is a global issue that no one can run away from. How it got started, who funds it, who gave it the green light, are questions we all should be demanding answers for, and we should be pressing our government officials, in whatever country you live, to stop it, before it’s too late.

Here’s what I did. I posted several notices on my personal Facebook, and Late Bloomer Facebook page about the film, then, I wrote to my California U.S. Senator, then  President Obama, then I posted both of those letters on both Facebook pages, and now I am writing a blog, and I hope you write your own blogs about chemtrails. We all breathe air, and need to drink water, and grow food to live. These basic rights will be taken away in the future, if we don’t act. It is up to us. Did you know that increased levels of aluminum are linked to Alzheimer’s, which is growing at an alarming rate, and that the main heavy metal in a chemtrail is aluminum? Did you know that the aluminum levels in the snow on Mt. Shasta, California, is 60 times greater than what is considered a government emergency? Any hiker drinking melted snow on Mt. Shasta is drinking poison. Did you know when Alcoa, the aluminum company, first decided they had to do something with their aluminum industrial waste, they wound up selling the public that it was good for us, and put it in the public drinking water? Don’t be silent!

My letter to President Obama at whitehouse.gov:

“President Obama, I am outraged at what I have learned about CHEMTRAILS from the film “What In The World Are They Spraying?,” and I would like to know specifically what measures you are taking to stop the global onslaught of toxic chemicals being sprayed in the atmosphere which is falling to Earth and killing trees and plants, likely contributing to all manner of health problems especially Alzheimer’s and asthma, and contaminating our water and soil. Save a nuclear war, no issue has higher priority than bringing this malicious, contaminating, global program to a close. You work and live in Washington, D.C. The skies above the halls of Congress are zig-zagged with chemtrails. Are you not concerned?

I am appalled that, in 2010, the majority of Congress, save the cautionary Democrat from TN, and the ready-to-listen Diane Feinstein had no clue about the fact this program is in effect, or even what it is, and appeared to be running away from the issue. Aren’t you all in office to serve the public good, or have chemical company lobbyists bought and paid for your influence?

As an environmentalist for decades, I had been focusing on other issues, but have heard about CHEMTRAILS. How is it the members of Congress are unaware, when the planes have been spraying toxic chemicals into the atmosphere for years?? After seeing this film, I believe wholeheartedly THIS issue should be at the top of your list. You and the members of Congress have a public duty to expose and prosecute (as they are apparently doing it without government knowledge or approval) the morally and ethically corrupt companies responsible for polluting our skies, blocking the sun, and creating fallout which contaminate the entire planet.

President Obama, I beg you to stand up against the chemical companies which must be behind it, and do something to stop this wholesale slaughter of our natural world, as a gardener growing her own food, as a mother who wants a future world for her sons and their families that is full of promise and is not contaminated, and as a citizen with rights to breathe clean air. Please let me know the measures being taken to stop it.

Please read this letter and heed the warning in the film. And I want you to talk to members of Congress. You have nothing to lose now, and the future of the planet to gain! This film was recorded in 2009. Billions of tons of contaminants have been sprayed since then. You all breathe air. Please stop it. Sincerely, Kaye Kittrell”

My letter to Sen. Diane Feinstein (CA):

“CHEMTRAILS. Sen. Feinsein, I was pleased to see your open and receptive mind in “What In The World Are They Spraying?” however, appalled that the rest of Congress, save the cautionary Democrat from TN, had no clue about the fact this is happening or even what it is, and appeared to be running away from the issue. Are they not IN office to serve the public good?

As an environmentalist for decades, I had been focusing on other issues, but have heard about CHEMTRAILS. How is it the members of Congress are unaware, when the planes have been spraying toxic chemicals into the atmosphere for years?? After seeing this film, I believe wholeheartedly THIS issue should be at the top of your list. You and the members of Congress have a public duty to expose and prosecute (as they are apparently doing it without your consent or endorsement) the morally corrupt companies responsible for polluting our skies, blocking the sun, and creating fallout which contaminate the entire planet.Diane, I beg you to stand up against the chemical companies, and do something to stop this wholesale slaughter of our natural world, as a gardener growing her own food, as a mother who wants a future world for her sons and their families that is full of promise and is not contaminated, and as a citizen with rights to breathe clean air. Please let me know specifically the measures being taken to stop it. That’s all I want to hear from you. I worked for Sen. James Sasser, and I know how issues are handled with constituents.

Please read this letter and heed the warning in the film. And I want you to talk to members of Congress. You all breathe air. This is happening over the halls of Congress! This film was recorded in 2009. Billions of tons of contaminants have no doubt been spread over the planet since then, while the spraying has gone unchecked. Please make me and the citizens of California aware of what’s being done to stop the destruction of our planet. Sincerely, and with respect, Kaye Kittrell”

There’s nothing I get a bigger kick out of than watching a sprout push out of the earth from a seed I have planted. These seedlings come from seeds I planted within a week of one another. In Southern California, gardeners do not get a break! We can, and must, if you are obsessed as I am now, plant year-round.

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Snow Pea – Oregon Sugar Pod II

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Moss Curled Parsley Heirloom

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Gourmet Blend Beet Heirloom

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Broccoli Raab Rapini Heirloom

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Baby Finger Carrot Heirloom

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Copenhagen Market Green Cabbage Heirloom

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Italian Dark Leaf Parsley Heirloom

Stay tuned for Part 2! Are seeds are from Botanical Interests. The snow peas are a hybrid, bred for resisting mildew, which I have a huge problem with here by the coast. Thanks for stopping by. Please check back on my progress! – Kaye

Today was the day! I checked on my cocoon early, as it was quite dark yesterday. I took this photo about an hour before she emerged.

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Monarch Cocoon in Final Stage

You can see where the dark ring top left became a row of holes, presumably for ventilation, as it does not function as an exit zipper. The butterfly rips open the bottom. The cocoon is molded by the shape of the folded wings. In the final stage, the cocoon wall is virtually transparent, and the polka dots and patterned wings can be plainly seen. Mark and Andy dropped by and as we sat and talked, a beautiful female emerged.

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Female Monarch Butterfly Just After Emerging from Cocoon

I had taped cheesecloth below the cocoon for the butterfly to grasp, however, she went up (they go forward I discovered, not back), and slipped and fell! Her damp wings were no help. She struggled to balance, and I let her walk onto my hand. I named her Celeste.

Celeste was quite friendly, and climbed on Mark’s beard and walked across Andy’s hands.

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Monarch Butterfly on Andy’s Hand

This was a very special gift for Thanksgiving and I am grateful for Mother Nature and all of her exquisite creatures. The detail in this one butterfly is a marvel.

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Female Monarch Butterfly Poses for the Camera

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Female Monarch Spreading Wings for First Time

After my first humble attempt at growing food this year, I am especially grateful for our farmers and food providers all over the world. It’s a 24/7 job to grow food, for if you are not in the fields, you are planning, borrowing money from the bank, grinding corn, processing pigs and chickens. There is always something you have to do, and simply growing food in a small front yard has made me ever more appreciative of all the care that goes into food production. Thank you, Nature. Thank you, Farmers. I hope you had a blessed day of thanksgiving. – Kaye

We received a little rain last night, enough to completely cover the surface of the garden. Before the sun comes out (it always does) and dries it all off, I captured this wide shot.

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Kaye’s Wet Garden, Wide View

As you can see, I’m way behind on fall planting. Thankfully, we are in Southern California, so, there’s a good chance I can still get 100 day cauliflower before it gets hot next spring. Those are six celery plants bottom right, with two Stupice Heirloom Tomato plants behind the celery. They are producing small, but perfect tomatoes, at least for now. It’s pretty cold for here.

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Reworked Watermelon Patch

This is what I have worked on a few hours the last two days. I reset the log border after pulling out the tomato vines, as I learned the orange tree suffers from anything tall surrounding it. It’s exploding with blooms. From now on, it will be lettuces and herbs only at the base. I dug up the watermelon bed, pulled and trimmed all but two vines with three 5″ melons growing, and began to lay it out for cabbage, peas and cauliflower. I will put some wildflowers right by the sidewalk.

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Sweet Pea Trellis

It took a couple of hours last night to dig down about 8″ through the rock hard clay soil, bypassing existing sprinkler irrigation pipes, to sink in these metal stakes for climbing peas. I had to do it with a hand trowel, so my hand and wrist took a beating. With an 8″ hole, all I had to do was pound them in with my sledge hammer another 4 to 5 inches, then pack in more soil in the hole, and tie up the nylon mesh. I am trying to utilize the space the best I can. The tall peas will only shadow the driveway as the sun goes over. It was after dark when I stopped, just short of putting in the first row of Super Sugar Snap pea seeds. Oh, I wish I had kept going by lamplight, because the rain would have given them a great start, but my hand was tired of trying to shove a trowel through the rocky clay soil.

Lemons are finally ripening, and look almost ready to pick with the leftover raindrops.

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Raindrops on Meyer Lemons

My spinach leaves are coming along. I could pinch these off for a salad tonight, if I had anything to go with it! Well, I do have pineapple guavas! But, I’d like to wait to see if they will get a little bigger. So far, the bugs have not eaten too much.

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Raindrops on Young Spinach Leaves

I am immensely honored to have been nominated for a blog award, which I will tell you about in the next post. I have been working hard setting up a completely new “Late Bloomer” site, which will be much more user friendly. I will unveil it before Thanksgiving! Thanks for stopping by! – Kaye

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Monarch Butterfly Cocoon in Morning Sun

After yesterday’s post, I went out to clean the remaining egg off the driveway, or, I tried. I was using the “jet” setting on my hose sprayer and blasting one bad spot. I looked ahead about ten feet from me and saw something dangling to a 20″ plastic pot of a flowering bush. I figured a leaf had gotten caught in one of the million spider webs we have all over the garden. I gave it a good direct blast of water, and it wildly flopped back and forth, but, didn’t release. I went in for a closer look.

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Monarch Caterpillar Beginning Metamorphosis

There was a very wet caterpillar dangling from the 1/8″ edge (so sharp, I often fear I am going to cut my hand when I try to move the pot). It survived the assault of water, and began to curl back up. To my utter amazement, I discovered an intact cocoon six inches away! How do they know?

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Monarch Cocoon Dripping with Water

The caterpillars are not in the same stage, yet, they left the milkweed plant, and crossed either just the driveway, or the sidewalk and driveway to reach this pot. It seems if they discovered it together, it would make sense they found it, however, if they left the milkweed plant at different times, how did the second one know where to find this pot? My car is in and out of the driveway every day. Did they make their move at night? I have to believe these are very intelligent creatures.

There is a finely woven web where they attach their back anchor feet to the edge, so, they can withstand wind and rain. This is not a terribly protected spot. Rain will definitely hit them, but they chose the side of the pot closest to another big clay pot (with no overhanging edge) that might protect from wind and offer some reflective warmth.

Monarch Caterpillar Starting Metamorphosis

Monarch Caterpillar Curling Up

Hard to see, but there is a fine web of a few strands of silk spun from the third from top anchor feet.

Monarch Caterpillar Spinning Web

Monarch Caterpillar Spinning Web, Insert

I will be watching this process closely and hope I get to see the emergence of the butterfly. Loree Bryer told me to attach some cloth near the cocoon, as the butterfly needs something to grasp while their wings unfold and dry. Otherwise, they could fall to the ground right from the cocoon. So I will do that. And I will be most curious to see if a third caterpillar finds its way to the pot!

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Monarch Cocoon with Water Droplets

Nature is a mystery and a wonder! And humans are entrusted to protect and defend it. Thanks for reading! – Kaye

Last night, I was putting away the leftover soup about 10:15 PM, and there was a soft knock at the door. Very strange. I froze. Then another knock. No one knocks on our door after ten o’clock. I ran upstairs and got my husband, and we approached the door. It was a neighbor from the street over and his young daughter, who were out for a late walk and noticed that we’d been egged. A dozen eggs had been hurled at my husband’s car in the driveway, and some in my garden. I grabbed a flashlight, pan of soapy water and a scrub brush, and Dan worked the hose and picked up egg shells, as I scrubbed the car. Egg dries fast and I knew it would be much tougher to get off today. We cleaned up as best we could and went inside scratching our heads, wondering why we were targeted.

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Egg on Driveway

This morning, I went out to inspect and found lots of egg matter on the driveway, and more eggshells, and egg goop in a few spots of the garden. This egg felled a branch off of my Golden Sun pepper plant, so this pepper will not fully ripen on the vine.

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Broken Pepper Branch with Smashed Egg

Last weekend, my college senior’s cup of wine was apparently drugged and he blacked out and wound up in the E.R. for four hours (three, waiting to be seen, I was told). He was recovering from foot surgery, so it was assumed he might have combined a pain killer with the wine, but he hadn’t taken any since the day after surgery. The E.R. doctor on call did NOT order any blood work! We did not find out till the next day. The doctor has not returned my call inquiring as to why no tests were ordered. He was released. With questions. Why was he targeted? Was he targeted, or was it random? It’s an uneasy feeling.

Thursday night, the skies ripped open and the rains started falling on Cap Haitien, Haiti, and didn’t stop before there was two feet of water everywhere. Cap Haitien had been spared when the earthquake hit Haiti, but, now they have serious trouble. Two years ago, my nephew and his wife, Hunter and Jillian Kittrell, took on the challenge of bringing order to a crumbling institution, a children’s orphanage, the Cap Haitien Children’s Home. Things were looking pretty good before Thursday night. Now, all the order is washed away.

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An Orphan Looks out over the Play Yard at Cap Haitien Children’s Home, Haiti

Hunter and Jillian are responsible for the lives and well-being of over 50 children, some in diapers. The grounds are flooded, as you will see in the photos on their Facebook page and Jillian’s blog, Life at the Cap Haitien Children’s Home, which I encourage you to check out.

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Girl Stands in Flood Waters at Cap Haitien Children’s Home, Haiti

Jillian is an amazing young woman who’s love for the orphans of Haiti is only surpassed for her love and devotion to God. And, if anyone can keep it together with the challenges facing them now is my nephew, Hunter. They are in the process (it takes years) of adopting a young Haitian girl they fell in love with when they first arrived.

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Hunter, Jillian and Dalencia Kittrell at Cap Haiten Children’s Home

Please, if you are so moved, make a donation by PayPal, or send them much needed items from their Amazon wish list (ship-to address is embedded, so all you have to do is order). Today, Jillian reports that they want to help the old folks home across the street where cholera has broken out. Mosquitos are a huge issue. Please do whatever you can. 100% of your donation will be used to help the orphans and the elderly, and clean up their facilities.

So, back to the question of “Why?” Hunter said one of the boys asked him, when the pouring rain would not cease and the water was rising, where was God, and Hunter said, in his characteristic good humor, “You are not swimming yet. When you are swimming, you ask that question.” Why does someone get their property egged, why does a college student get drugged, why does more devastation hit the poorest country on Earth? All we can do is pick up a brush and some soapy water, and clean up, as best we can, and keep moving forward. And give generously. And it’s a tough time to ask for help for orphans in Haiti, when most of knows someone who’s reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. Please help them if you can, and share their links.

Thanks for reading! – Kaye

I had been alerted that rain was coming this weekend, and I knew I had to get a fresh layer of alfalfa down on my hard-baked clay, otherwise, every trip into the garden would result in mud-caked shoes. So, this morning, I spread it out. Rain was coming down gently on my back. I had my office window open (that’s Linden sitting in the window watching me) and Puccini wafting out to inspire me to work in the sprinkling rain.

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Alfalfa Spread on Grassless Lawn

Next, I popped in a couple of red Cyclamen in the far back corner to cheer me up. There’s too much shade for edibles. In front of the window sits my new birdbath. Not one bird has visited it, yet. The “rain” stopped fairly quickly, but not before all the leaves got a few drops.

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Raindrops on Roses

This is the second light sprinkle since the mid-April downpour. I wish it could have lasted longer. Now that I pulled out the tomato vines that enshrouded my little orange tree, it is coming to life with a hundred blooms!

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Valencia Orange Blossoms

And I discovered a potato popping up under my birch trees! I had dumped the dirt from the big pot there after pulling out my potato vines. Because the soil back there is as hard as a rock and choked with birch roots, I am mounding it up as it grows. I will be very curious to see if I get potatoes.

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Potato Plant

Next, I checked in with my Monarch caterpillars. These three fat ones were chomping away on perhaps their last meal before they head off to build a cocoon.

The longer antennae are on the head, and they bob back and forth as they eat. The caterpillars anchor at the top of the leaf near the stem, grasping onto the vein in the leaf and eat from the tip up the leaf, backing up as they go. They are always hanging upside down, so it’s hard to get a good look at the head. When I do get my camera close enough for them to see it, they sense danger and freeze, and hope their big, beautiful, yellow and black striped bodies won’t be noticeable. Ha! That’s Pavarotti singing “Nessun Dorma” (along with the sound of a jet plane) in the background. With big dumps of frass (insect poop) like these, I know these caterpillars are about ready to morph.

Frass (Insect Poop)

Monarch Caterpillar Frass

Thanks for stopping by! – Kaye

This story and video from Sydney, Australia, totally justifies all that I have been trying to do in my front yard: grow edibles, create community, and use water on growing food, not a lawn. I hope you will check out what a group of neighbors in Australia, the front line of climate change, is doing to improve their neighborhood and world. And the kids are adorable! Thanks for reading! – Kaye

Monarch Butterfly by Kaye Kittrell

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