Fan art based on the official festival art by Nina Hemmingson.
This year the festival will be May 17th-18th!
I was contemplating whether to write any summary of the year at all, since so much crap happened, but then maybe it’s better if I provide the scoop on some things straight from the source instead of letting people speculate wildly behind my back, or having people only know other people’s perspective.
So, some fun things that happened this year, ordered top-to-bottom according to what I believe are the most interesting topics to presumptive readers of this post:
The winter was extremely long and frustrating, so when my winter residence contract ran out, I had to shack up in two temporary apartments in Kreuzberg (right next to Schlesi, above) and Friedrichshain for almost two months until I could move out to my garden.
I’m going to publish this year’s 24h comic online in installments. Here are part 1 and part 2!
Time to look back at what happened in my garden this year, the biggest successes and failures, and the new problems and innovations …
The ones who did the most awesomepants were definitely the tomatoes.
That’s because for once in my life, I started them as soon as possible, just after the last frost in early April when I moved out to my garden. Also, I made a serious effort at picking off all the “suckers” (the side shoots from their armpits), something I’d been lazy with before. And the summer had long hot and dry periods that the tomatoes liked, and I put several of them in the front part of my greenhouse, where they got maybe less headspace but definitely even more sun than at the back.
Unfortunately, the dry climate in the greenhouse that the tomatoes loved had a negative effect on many other plants …
The cucumbers started out really nice, but then spider mites started to take over – first the beans, then the cucumbers, zucchini and groundcherries. Only after the season was over I finally figured out what the problem was and how to deal with it: create a moister climate in the greenhouse by spraying the plants with water twice a day or so. I like cucumbers more than tomatoes, after all, so if the tomatoes will be less happy it’s a small price to pay for not having spider mites wipe out most of the cucumbers.
Something in the greenhouse that wasn’t harmed by the spider mites and also thrived in the dryer climate were the hot peppers. I have a Habanero and a Cayenne that I grew from seed two years ago. The Cayenne, for the first time, made two big, beautiful fruits early this summer. The Habanero gave up its fruits but grew huge. Maybe next year it will make fruit, too …
Outside, the runner/pole beans on the side of the trailer were happy as always.
I got lots of peas, until the nettles started to take over the patch and I didn’t cut them back enough.
The 3 years old oregano grew huge and made lots of flowers. The lavender, also grown from seed 3 years ago, made little flowers for the first time.
The plum tree seems to have a biannual cycle going on, and every other year it makes massive amounts of fruit. This year was one of the massive fruit years, and for a week or two I ate plum kisel and plum pie every day. Mmmm … I even gave a lot of kisel away so it would get eaten before it went bad. (I made the pies in a frying pan so they looked too hideous to share with anyone and I was forced to eat them all on my own …
This was the first year when garlic has actually stayed alive all the way. Maybe because the summers before were wetter. I got several little bulbs that I tied into a horrible braid to dry. I’ve planted the biggest bulbs again for next year, since garlic apparently adapts to its environment over the years.
Two nice plants that appeared seemingly out of nowhere this year were wild mint (above left) and raspberry. The ants unfortunately used the raspberries for grazing their livestock and did not practise holistic management, so they kind of ravaged them and I only got to try two or three berries.
I built a new garden bed, reclaiming it from the nettles, where I grew potatoes this year. And I finally got a rhubarb. First I put it in a too shady place where snails ate it too much, so I moved it to a sunnier spot. We’ll see how it does there …
Speaking of little creatures nibbling things … I made an insanely good discovery this year, namely that slugs prefer one day old goutweed cuttings to potato plants. (I wrote more about that in the special slug post.)
Something that is a recurring issue in my garden is the gaping hole that gives my neighbours on one side full view of my garden. It got worse when a large bush collapsed in one of the storms. I put up a bamboo screen there that provides a little bit of shade, but it’s not perfect. It would be amazing if some day I could hang out in my garden and not have to see or be seen by my annoying neighbour.
Last winter was harsh and the deer ate all the green off the cypresses that I had planted there. So this winter I have cruelly covered them in plastic netting. Even so, it will be many years until the cypresses are big enough to provide a visual barrier. So my new, desperate innovation is to plant jerusalem artichoke in that area! We’ll see how it goes next year …
Another new innovation was to cook not on the sooty rocket stove and not on the explosive alcohol cooker, but on top of five tealights! It’s a bit slower, but simple, clean and unfussy. After a while I acquired a big stash of tealights without aluminium holders, too.
And next year I’ll find out if those logs will actually grow mushrooms.
* * *
Bonus: cute little friends
Little bumblebee on the chive blossom
Little Honeybee on the cucumber blossom
Little Toadie in the pond
Little mosquitie on my arm
Little waspie under the bean leaf
Little Hornetie after I took her outside, and little froggie on the edge of the patio
I would post cute sluggie photos but they already got a whole post of their own. :3
Every year on December 9th I tally how much comics I have drawn in the past year (because I’m crazy that way). In 2013 I felt like I drew very little comics. Was my impression correct?
I only count finished pages, so while I have several pages that are only sketched at this stage and will be inked or watercoloured later, I won’t include them. I’ve included one-panel gag drawings before, so I guess I’ll include them now, too.
Number of pages and panels I have drawn since December 9th 2012:
- Dog Island pages 13-18: 6/31
- Hourly Comics Day comic: 16/45
- Springtime on the Subway: 1/1
- SHu SHu SHu SHu: 1/1
- Electric Tsunamis: 47/139 (Based on the printed zine edition. I could be evil and count each screen of the e-book version, including all the screens with just one word on them, haha, which would make it 213/213 …)
- How to make sawing wood a more appealing chore: 1/1
- Last night at Netto: 1/1
- Lovely, Lovely Hair: 4/15
- Spirit animals: 1/2
- Post-apocalyptic piggy comic: 1/3 (lol)
- The Slow and the Relentless: 29/86 (at the time of writing still unfinished ’24h’ comic …)
(All-time total as of today: 939/4527)
“The kholy shit!”, as Tonya in The Slow and the Relentless would say. I felt like I barely drew any comics at all, but in fact I drew a pretty good amount of pages compared to the last couple of years. In 2012 I drew 111 pages, in 2011 – 102, in 2010 – 87!
It was just more concentrated in isolated bursts of productivity mainly on low-intensity comics (comics in smaller/weird formats and the hourly and 24h comics), with long periods of writer’s block and anguish over the bigger comics projects in between. This is also reflected in how the panel ratio has hit an all-time low this year, with just a 3.01 panels per page average.
Yesterday I posted the first new page since March. Maybe now the comic will return to regular updates again …? V^(oo)^;V