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Amparo Bertram

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05:27 pm: Getting benched
This weekend has been a busy one. Yesterday I went to neighboring city San Carlos to run an errand, and while I was there I stopped to browse in a furniture store. I found a long bench with upholstery matching my dining set that I thought would be convenient if I ever have a large number of people over, such as on my birthday. When I learned that the store was offering free delivery right to my door, I couldn't resist buying it. It should be delivered next week. Once it arrives, I'll be able to seat more than four people around my dining table. Or, I could put it across the coffee table facing my sofa, so people can chat and play games without having to use one of the rolling computer chairs.

Since I'll be adding such a large piece of furniture to the living room, I decided it was time to clear out a bit of space by removing the spare Ikea coffee table I had been using as a dumping ground for gardening supplies and old mail-order catalogues. I spent some time today decluttering the table and moving it to my bedroom.

It has also been a productive time in the garden. I've been trying out a new method of protecting my figs from hungry squirrels. I'm using Velcro plant ties to fasten hand towels around the figs as soon as they start turning purple. My hope is that this will make the squirrels turn to easier sources of food instead, while not injuring the tree. It may be a bit unsightly, but so far it seems to be working.

The beans are doing fantastic. Some of the vines on the more vigorous pole beans are already more than five feet long. The pods are filling nicely with beans, which means I should be able to start picking them soon.

One of the more exciting developments is that my summer potatoes are beginning to fruit. I grow potatoes every year, but they generally don't flower, and on the rare occasion that one does, the blossoms all fall off without producing any fruit. That's been disappointing for me, since I had been hoping to do potato breeding experiments. If I'm lucky, these fruit will grow to maturity, and I'll be able to harvest some seeds from them to try. The flowering took me by surprise, so I don't have any particular crosses to make, but I'll be happy with whatever variability I get from open pollination.

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