Friday, June 04, 2004

Night planting and car repairs

It's been a busy day of working around the house and shopping at the IKEA sale, but two things stand out as being mildly interesting.

1) Night Planting: My SO and I have discovered that gardening at night is quite enjoyable; it's wonderfully cool, there's no worry about getting sunburned, and as long as we have our halogen work lamp on we can see just fine. We just came in an hour ago after planting approximately 50 bulbish things in and around our new rose bed. We planted a selection of cannas, calla lilies, ranunculus, dahlias, and amaryllis. We're imagine this is the wrong time of year to plant them, but oh well, that's what one year plant guarantees are for.

For those botanically minded folks out there, most of what we planted are not true bulbs; in the list above the only one is amaryllis. True bulbs are a plant bud that consists of a small stem and a number of leaves. Onions are common example; each layer of the onion is actually a separate leaf. Dahlias and cannas are tuberous roots (root tissue modified to store nutrients), ranunculus are tubers (swollen underground stem bases), and callas are rhizomes (underground horizontal stems; information primarily from Sunset's Western Garden Handbook).

2) Car Repairs: As I mentioned earlier, we were frantically trying to get our "travel" car repaired before our recent trip to Dallas. We got the car back from the repair shop on Thursday afternoon of last week, took it in for a quick oil change at an EZ Lube, and were planning to drive it for hours through the desert later that night. Unfortunately, on the way home from the oil change place my SO noticed that the engine was getting hotter than normal and had started smoking, but after parking and opening the hood we couldn't figure out where the smoke had been coming from. With time running short, we decided to take our other car (which only I can drive because it's a stick shift) on the trip.

After getting back from Dallas we started the "repaired" car up and looked for leaks and smoking, but didn't see any. This morning we drove the car to the repair shop to figure out what was wrong, and the engine started smoking about half a mile away from the shop. We opened the hood, called out the mechanic, and after about 30 seconds he found the problem: the dolts at the EZ Lube had forgotten to tighten the radiator cap. We felt pretty dumb for not having found it, but at least it seems like no major damage was done.

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