The Bonsai are Up!

During the winter, bonsai typically have to be stored to protect them from from the wind and from temperature fluctuations.  The cold isn’t so much the problem: trees that live in cold climates are designed to survive the cold.  The wind, though, can desiccate (dry out) a tree’s tissues, and temperature fluctuations can cause repeated freezing and thawing that can damage pots.

There are several strategies for dealing with these issues.  Deciduous trees can be stored in an unheated room or garage.  Once they’ve lost their leaves for the winter, they don’t need sunlight.  Due to lack of space, however, I have typically placed the trees under their benches and surrounded them with sheets of plastic to keep the wind at bay.  More recently, I’ve removed the shelving and simply placed the trees together, and used tall metal stakes to support the windbreak.

I generally put the trees into storage this way over the Thanksgiving weekend, as in my area that’s when temperatures are starting to get low enough that the trees will need some protection.  I put them back up on the benches in the early weeks of spring, depending upon how warm it’s getting.  This year I left them down a bit longer than usual, because the weather has been unusual.  As of today, however, they are back up.

I haven’t started repotting yet, although by all rights I probably should have done so a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time.  With luck I can get to that shortly.

Goodbye, Daniel

Last week, our cat Daniel passed away.

Abandoned in a local Petsmart, he came to live with us about two years ago. He could get nasty when he was scared or mad and mauled a couple of family members, but mellowed a bit after a couple of injuries, one involving another cat and one in which his tail was accidentally shut in a door. A year ago he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). He nearly died, but the amazing doctors and techs at Eastern Animal Hospital restored him to a reasonable semblance of health. In his last year, he wasn’t as energetic as he’d previously been, but he still liked to zip outside to chase mice and birds whenever the door opened. Shortly before 2:00 AM on March 18, 2015, his heart gave out. He was about three years old.

Kathy and I have had cats and dogs for most of our married life, and are no strangers to such loss.  Some of our animals have died young, like Daniel, and some have had very full lives.  Punkin, a female tortoiseshell who Kathy referred to as her “attitudinous kitty”, lived to be 20 years old.  Lily, our Great Dane/mastiff, is now 13 years old, which puts her squarely in “older than dirt” range for a dog of that size.  I doubt I could provide a complete catalog of the cats who have passed through our lives; at one point we accidentally ended up with an embarrassingly large number of them.   But in all cases, we have had to contend with the basic fact that our canine and feline pals don’t live as long as we do, so to have a dog or cat is most generally to lose them.

For me, though, there is great consolation in knowing that on the whole we do our best to give them a good home.  Many of our animals have been cast-offs, creatures other people didn’t want or for some reason could no longer keep.  Even though Daniel’s life was short (some might say tragically so), while he was with us he was cared for, had a “brother” (our other cat Logan) to play with, and regularly escaped through the front door to chase local wildlife.

What more could a cat ask for?


Next Book Signing

I’m doing a repeat book signing at Greetings & Readings in the Hunt Valley Towne Centre on April 11, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM.  I’ll be signing copies of The Fibonacci Murders and just might have some news about the sequel, True Death, which I’m currently writing.  If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello.

By the by, if you can’t make it, you can pre-order The Fibonacci Murders from the store at the above link and I’ll sign it for you while I’m there.

Store information:

Greetings & Readings
Hunt Valley Towne Centre
118-AA Shawan Rd
Hunt Valley, MD  21030


The offiical website of author Dale E. Lehman