August 28, 2015
Still More Gardens
Last weekend I tackled getting more plants into the ground. I extended the shrub / perennial garden by the fence next to the properties that contain the trailer and apartments. I had covered that section with newspaper and landscape fabric to help keep weeds to a minimum after the neighbor "helpfully" removed all the leaves I had piled there. additionally he "helped" by pulling up and discarding some cotoneaster starts that I had gotten from a former neighbor. Never did find those, and yes, the neighbor got the full b*tch treatment - especially since the cops have been called several times to tell him to keep off my property. He's brain damaged, so can't do much but yell at him. Anyway, this was the before on Saturday afternoon:
It took about 3 hours to get the sod pulled up:
Then the planting started:
As you can tell, Saturday evening I still had a section that was bare (to the right of the redbud tree, which has a tree ring around it).
Sunday I went to a BBS looking for mulch, but I found plants on sale. Earlier in the year I had coveted Kalmias (mountain laurel - a native plant), but wouldn't pay the price they were asking. But, on sale, I decided to get a couple. I wasn't impressed with the mulch offerings, so I passed on that. However, I did stop at the local Agway on the way home, and they had great natural cedar mulch. And, of course I had to look at plants they had on sale and I scored some hollies and daylilies.
So, I filled in with more plants, laid landscape fabric on the perimeters and layered newspaper in between plants, and finished off with mulch:
Very left side - that redbud was there, as was the top, left male winterberry. I added (front l-r) Sneeze Weed, Round Midnight daylily, Bigger & Better Echinacea, and unknown daylilies that I got from someone a couple months ago. In the back, I added female winterberry (very hard to see it is so small), a clematis, then a male winterberry.
Front: Echinacea (seen in previous pic), daylily, foxglove (from former neighbor) then a newly planted redbud. Back: The clematis seen previously, a male winterberry and another clematis.
Front: Kalmia, Pardon Me daylily, kalmia, Japanese iris. Back: Two female winterberries and the last male winterberry.
And - the whole enchilada (the timbers are not "set", just laying there)
Oh, and what garden project would be complete without 1 big rock to dig up? Good thing this was in a sandy area because it was big enough, and situated in such a way that I had to "float" it up: dig around it, wedge it up, shove sand under - wash, lather, rinse, repeat about a dozen times.
The sad part is, when I finished on Saturday, I had 3 potted roses, 1 China Couple holly duo, a couple of day lilies and some Japanese iris left to plant. Once I got this garden completed, I ended up with 3 roses, 2 coneflowers, several lilies, 3 single hollies, 2 lavenders and 2 holly couples to plant.
August 23, 2015
Strange Cat Sighting
There are several cats in the neighborhood that I regularly see, but this one decided that my propane tank was a good place to rest for a while. Don't know why he was up there, but it didn't disturb him that I was taking pictures or using the flash.
Another Front Flower Garden
Last Sunday I decided I had to get more plants in the ground - it was the middle of August and winter is approaching fast. To the right of the front door stairs, I have been keeping several roses and other perennials that I potted up until I was ready to plant them. Made for pretty flowers by the steps, and kept them all together to make for easy watering.
Unfortunately I didn't take a before picture, but it wasn't pretty with a bunch of pots, one planted hosta, and a bunch of tall grass and weeds in between. I moved all the plants to under a tree and removed all the sod from the area, then planted, placed landscape timbers and landscape fabric, then hauled pea gravel. Pretty funny that I had to haul the gravel since it was only about 15 feet away, but I certainly wasn't slinging it at the plants.
Obviously that picture was before I moved gravel. Don't know why I don't have a picture with the gravel from this angle. Anyway, in the front (L-R) creeping phlox (2 different batches), hosta (planted when I did the planting by the lilies in front), Coneflower.
Behind (L-R) Easter Basket Rose, Gertrude Jekyll rose. Way back right (you'll see in next picture) is Gay Feather (aka Blazing Star - a native plant) that a former neighbor gave to me.
Once I was done, I still had lots of plants left - roses, Rudbekia, holly and a couple of male winterberries. And, that doesn't count what I still have in the raised bed I have been using as a holding garden (female winterberries, named day lilies, redbuds etc.).
The 2 yards of pea gravel was too big a pile to be covered completely by the 25' tarp (top and bottom), and I had to use another piece of plastic on the downhill side to keep it dry. I certainly don't have that problem now!
August 14, 2015
New Culvert, Now a New Road
Monday I rode the bike into work. When I was coming home, I turned onto a dramatically different road than I left that morning.
The dirt was very soft and made the bike squirrely. I was glad I didn't have to go far (you can see my tire tracks in the first picture to the right of the driveway). Since then it has rained hard, so it has compacted a bunch - a good thing since I have to ride the bike to have some service done tomorrow.
Oh, and now that they have removed all the shade creating plants by the culvert, Japanese Knotweed is growing like, well, weeds - better in fact. I have to inform the town that it is there and maybe they will try to take care of it before it comes into my yard (if you will remember, that is what I spent so much time eradicating/controlling over by the garage). I read that Deering just did a spray program to try to control/eradicate this nasty invasive, maybe Hillsboro will do the same.
New(ish) Pellet Stove
Last spring, as I was perusing CL, I was looking at pellet stoves. I know, I know, I have 2 pellet stoves that performed well last winter and kept me toasty warm.
However, the really nice looking St. Croix Hastings has a small hopper, holding only about 35 pounds of pellets, and on really cold, windy days, it would run out of pellets just as I was getting home from work (literally shutting down either just before or as I was walking in the door). This cramped my style as I had to make sure to rush home from work on those days. No, I really have no place else to be, but working late or having a long commute time during snow storms stressed me a bit. Plus, the SC is more demanding than my Harman P61a (stove downstairs. It has a small ash pan, so it had to be emptied every weekend and the longest I can go between cleaning of the rest of the stove is 2 weeks.
So anyway, I was perusing CL looking at pellet stove, not really thinking I would find anything that I would be willing to afford, when I saw a Harman PP38++ (basically a P43 if anyone cares - which only a pellet-head would), located in Weare, being sold by someone who was moving. The asking price was about $600 more than I was willing to afford. Not that they were asking a bad price for it, just I already had a stove that worked fine, so I wasn't willing to pay what they wanted.
I let them know I would be interested for a certain price, and they rejected it (naturally). A couple weeks later they lowered the price and I reiterated my interest, for my price. One issue in my favor was that they needed it to be moved on a certain weekend. I was willing, and had a person from the pellet forum I frequent who was willing to help on that day. About 3 days before they needed it moved, the contacted me and accepted my price.
So, I rented a van from U-Haul and my pellet forum acquaintance (that is being kind - he was a total stranger who answered a plea for anyone willing to help me) and I went and picked it up. Much to my delight I found the stove is only 2 years old (the St. Croix was born in 2008m the PP38++ born in 2013). The Harman has been hanging out in my living room since then but I couldn't put it in place until I got rid of the St. Croix.
I have had an ad on CL with it for sale or trade (for a trailer), and I had it for sale for the price I paid for it last fall. I knew I wouldn't get that, but one has to start somewhere. About 3 weeks ago I lowered the price by $150, and I got a lady who was interested. She came to look at it last Friday and definitely wanted it, just had to arrange for transport. We "dealt a bit and I dropped the price by another $50 if her helpers would help me place the Harman in its place after removing the St. Croix.
Tuesday evening she and her helper picked up the SC, and they helped me move the Harman into place (I could have done it myself, but having help is easier). The Harman doesn't look as nice as the SC, but it has a 55 pound hopper, I can get a hopper extension for an additional 40 pound capacity, I won't have to empty the ash pan but every 3-4 weeks, and the maintenance and cleaning schedule is exactly like the downstairs Harman (clean every ton or once/month). I can also get decorative trim if I wish to dress it up a bit. I still need to hook up the exhaust which I have to modify from the previous stove since their heights are different.
I also made out as far as I was concerned because I have a newer stove that cost me less than what I sold the SC for - and that includes the $100 for van rental, mileage charges and gas. I am a happy camper and I hope the lady who bought it is happy with her acquisition. The SC really is a fine stove, just not the best for my circumstances.
So, Cop Car (who has heard about how much a U-Haul really costs to rent, but didn't know what I picked up), yes, my deal was still a good deal.
New Shrub Garden
I have collected a bunch of shrubs, lilies and other plants over the last couple of months and placed them in holding. Last weekend I decided it was time I get some of them planted. After all, it is almost fall (here anyway), so time is a wasting.
The area before I started (amazing I remembered to take before pictures, I know).
I stripped off all the sod, which was much easier than the no-mow zone on the other side of the yard because there is only one tree nearby. So, I only ran into a few,, very small roots which were not trouble. I did however, run into one largish rock - about 2 feet long.
By Saturday evening I had panted the following: 2 male and 2 female winterberries (back row - yes, the females are small but they will grow 6-10 feet tall), a Spirea from a former neighbor's yard (front left), a Little Devil Ninebark (center front), and a Copper King Hibiscus (right front). I had also gotten an Eastern Redbud planted over to the side of the shrub garden.
Sunday I spent almost 2 hours laying down newspaper barrier on the soil then covering it with mulch. This is a moist spot, but not damp, so bark mulch should be fine there. Plus, it gets a fair amount of sun, which will help keep it from growing mold.
Yes, the stump still awaits me in the no-mow zone, but I feel my priority is getting plants into the ground before winter, so it will wait even longer as I have more to plant.
August 02, 2015
Town Work on Road
The town has been working on my road replacing culverts. They finally got to mine. It looks much better as before it was heavily overgrown with poison ivy and wild, invasive roses.
The water going into the culvert is extremely rusty - weird, since it looks clear up further (top of pic). Maybe it is from the culvert they took out.
Wish they had taken this tree. Most of the green you see is poison ivy
Hopefully this means that they plan on repaving soon.
Brightening up a Dark Spot
Last Sunday I continued work on the no mow zone. I planted more hostas, lilies, a Little Henry Sweetspire and foxgloves. I covered some areas in landscape fabric then began the long process of shoveling pea gravel into the cart, moving the cart, then shoveling pea gravel back out (didn't want to damage plants by dumping the gravel). My last several trips I was able to dump the cart along what will be a pathway thru.
The pea gravel pile was definitely much smaller when I got done with that portion. The dead grass shows where the pile was previously. What isn't apparent is that the pile is not as tall either, so more is gone than what would appear.
Yesterday, I started tackling the stump; removing large roots. I have an idea to keep the stump as a "feature" (much as sometimes is done with large rocks that would be too much trouble to move), but I don't want the roots heaving. Nor do I want them in the way of future work in the area. I have gotten about 1/2 way thru removing the main roots. It would be much easier and faster to use large, mechanical machines, but I work with what I have. I did use the chainsay to separate the roots from the trunk, but everything else is done with hand tools. The first picture is where I started from (I had actually started getting the sod away from the stump last weekend). The rest are of the progress I made yesterday..
I was so glad it was only in the 70's - and with that, I still had sweat running into my eyes. I am hoping to continue work today, but it is supposed to get near 90, so I am unsure how much will actually get done. Plus, most of my calluses were worn off (I stopped earlier than planned because of that), so don't want to end up with all blisters. And no, I'm not the glove-wearing sort, wspecially on hot days.
July 25, 2015
Mulching With Stone
After receiving irises from Cop Car, I decided it was time to finish up the flower bed under the bay window in the front of the house. So on Sunday, I set to it. To remind you of what that portion has looked like to this point:
I left the lilies there, removed the planters with roses, cleaned out any weeds that had dared crop up since I had last worked the area, and covered the back portion with landscape fabric. The section between the foundation and the lilies is a good two feet wide, so I shouldn't have anything crowding the foundation.
I filled in the areas next to the landscape timbers with a sand/dirt mixture. I had moved some of the cleaner excavated sand/dirt to a pile at the side of the house, so used that to fill in. Once the dirt level was where I wished it to be, I started planting.
Along with irises, I have gathered several perennials and shrubs during my wonderings thru CL, from a former neighbor (stored in the extra raised bed until I was ready to use), H*me Dep*t and other places. Most I got for free, or for $2-5 as distressed plants (amazing what a bit of water will do to revive them). When I was done, hostas and delphinium were at either end of the lilies and a penstemon was next to the stairs. I placed most of Cop Cars irises and some creeping phlox sprigs in front of the lilies.
Once the plants were in, I started hauling pea gravel from the two yards I had delivered a couple of weeks ago.
The lower portion, to the left and next to garage isn't done yet. I was hoping to do that during the week after work, but spent all my time waiting for contractors to show up to give bids for remodeling the bathroom. Maybe I can get it done this weekend, but have more contractors and rain to deal with, so we'll see what happens.
July 19, 2015
Friday after I got home from work I took a nap and awoke with all kinds of energy. It was supposed to rain that night (it did), so I mowed. Just trimming up the trees and shrubs took about 15 minutes off my time - I'm down to an hour for the whole yard!
Then I hauled dirt to refill the planter in the front yard until it got dark (oh, and sprayed some of the poison ivy with killer too). I was still full of energy, so decided to take down the only remaining sheet rock in the basement room.
The insulation is new from tearing out the garage the winter of 2013/14, so in good shape. The framing seems to be good too, although I need to paint the bottom with water retardant as a preventive measure. I'm hoping that I can get the room sheet rocked when I have the bathroom remodeled, but of course finances will dictate that.
Regardless, I need to get that one wall recovered before the cold really hits, so will have the contractor order enough sheetrock so it will be available for me to do that myself if needed.
I need bursts of energy like that more often - yesterday I was a slug LOL.