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Garden and all around meanderings on a cold, snowy Sunday morning.

Posted Sunday, December 12, 2010, at 9:10 AM

As I start this, I can't help but smile remembering a comment given in a not too distant blog. They wrote to find out how to get a blog on here, because they surely could write more interesting stuff than I was writing. Lucky for me, blogs are not always expected to be serious, argumentative, or shocking. Well, at least for most.

So, here is a pre-emptive comment. If you are looking for any of the above, serious might be the only thing found in here (sometimes serious, anyway).

I have been saving up some thoughts for a while and that usually means that I've lost a lot of them in the depths of my mind, but a cold snowy day seems like a good time to do some writing. Yesterday was filled with harvesting firewood from a friend's fields and getting ready for the next cold blast, that is now here.

As many a garden enthusiast is now doing, I am reading my seed catalogs in earnest and while I usually blast through them pretty fast, this year's "Pinetree Gardens Seeds", www.superseeds.com slowed me down.

Shoot, I was through one catalog and so amazed that they had such a large selection of tomatoes that I FINALLY look at the front cover to see that it was "Totally Tomatoes". Duh, what a surprise! www.totallytomato.com

Anyway, back to the little "finds" I came across. Last Moon Pie Day I picked up one of the last Stevia plants from a local vendor. It was a little scraggly but surely I could baby it a little and overwinter it. Wrong! Not sure why or what went wrong but it 'died on the vine'.

So, when I saw Stevia seeds in the herb section, I knew they had a sale. Of course, to justify the purchase you have to get more, so I looked closer and was rewarded with a few other choices.

For those who are not acquainted with Stevia, it is a tender perennial but for most of us it is best to plan on it as an annual. (I will try to make it a perennial this next year, but....)

But why do I want it? The claims are that the leaves are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar and supposedly no (as in 0) calories. Man, just sprinkle some leaves in with your tea and whammo, instant sweet tea with no calories!

Do I believe it? I will let you know, but here is a link to find out more www.stevia.com. Go to their FAQ (frequently Asked Questions) for some interesting reading.

From the short time I had the plant I have to say the leaves are sweet. I was more interested in trying to grow it, so I did not munch down on a lot of them, but it showed promise.

There is a lot more bouncing around in my head, but post that is too long is often ignored and I don't want to give everyone too much chance to do that.


Comments
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Snow snow snow, so what better than to trim and propagate some plants. (Don't tell Debbi)

Several varieties of Dracaena have reached the ceiling and something had to be done. One fell over and attacked Deb's mother and that settled it.

One variety is the kind you see growing in little pots or vases of water at the local Chinese restaurant. Some months ago I trimmed it up and put the cuttings in a wok we inherited but never used.

The wok now sits in a place of prominence with about 6 different cuttings growing from a bed of round, decorative stones, immersed in distilled water.

Another Dracaena reached the ceiling in the kitchen and is now looking more under control while the cuttings are in a pot in a downstairs shower. (at least until the leaves dry and the pot drains)

A newly potted plant in the greenhouse would not withstand the PITA initiation.

Back to listing.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 10:17 AM

Oh yes, in the true spirit of meandering I will mention the Firefox browser I am now using. On my Windows XP machine I had a problem with Internet Explorer locking up. It seems it was loading a new version every time I changed websites and eventually too many versions were running, thus paralysis.

I would Ctrl-Alt-Del and shut them down and this would be OK for a while. I eventually changed over to Mozilla Firefox (free) and have not had that issue again. Well, my new Windows 7 started doing the same thing yesterday and by this morning I had had enough. It has now been retired and Firefox my default browser.

Anyone out there know why this was happening with IE?

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 10:23 AM

I just looked at our auction listings and think we might have an exciting entry. We had a bid on it about 30 minutes after listing last night and now have three.

The trend has lately been for buyers to "watch" something for days, maybe even 6 out of 7 before they actually bid. When they bid this early it could be the start of something good.

I almost did not list it at all because it was not as nice as we like our items to be, but there were no other listings on eBay, nor other sites I check, so I figured I might as well give it a shot. There may be a collector out there who was not as concerned about pristine condition. Guess there are at least two.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 10:39 AM

I can vouch for the stevia. I had 2 plants a couple years ago. I'm sorry to say I abused them, as while the kids would play outside, I'd walk up to the plant... say some kind words, then just pluck on of those sweet leaves and eat it right there. If you want to, I'll go in half with you on some seeds this year, so I can kill a couple more plants that way, ha ha!

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 12:29 PM

Did you grow them from seed or plants?

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Dec 12, 2010, at 2:24 PM

OK, we have had our Winter. Now let's move on to Spring. If only it was that easy. I pray everyone is staying warm through this.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Dec 13, 2010, at 7:57 AM

Sorry I didn't get back to you on this. I bought 2 plants a couple years ago. I've heard that the stevia plant is a bit difficult to grow from seed, and that cutterlings is easier. I never tried the cutterlings, I just kept eating the leaves, lol!

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Tue, Dec 14, 2010, at 5:37 PM

Thanks, I will do more research on growing from seed. Need to know what I am up against.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Dec 14, 2010, at 8:34 PM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.