May 24, 2015
Yard work is becoming more of the norm, with my mowing for the fist time this season last Tuesday after work. One of my projects this summer is to take out the several stumps that were in the yard when I moved in. Last weekend, I managed to remove a couple, and get a third stump dug down quite a bit.
The first two stumps were next to the stairs leading to the front door. They were most likely cedar and had been planted too close to the stairs, so had to be cut down as they encroached. The first stump took quite a while to dig out.
The second stump must have gotten scared and gave little resistance - it took perhaps a total of 30 minutes of digging and prying - the stump actually gave me a nice place to lever against itself.
The third stump is next to the driveway. I don't know what it is, but it was certainly a larger hardwood that was evidently planted too close to the house. To add to the difficulty, I have to be very careful with the dirt because Japanese Knotweed is growing right next to it (that is the green stuff next to the stump - I cut off the 2 ft canes, after applying shrub killer a couple of days previously). JK is a very invasive plant that needs lots of sun to grow, but when it grows, it grows so fast you can almost literally see it (up to 6"/day). Evidently it got enough shade from the Cedar that I cut down last year, that it didn't start growing until last summer. This year, without the cedar to shade it, it took right off.
I gave up on stump 3 until I can get ahold of a chainsaw to cut the two roots on the downhill side, and Monday evening I started on the 4th stump that was between a flower garden and the planter that I placed the (now dead) Peace Rose in last summer. Even though it turned out to be the smallest of the stumps (it is the one on the right in the picture below), this one was challenging as there were lots of rocks that had to be removed.
I still have 3 stumps to go, but those may not come out this year. I have the two cedar stumps from the trees along the driveway I had removed last year. Those two were great at blocking my snow blowing and throwing the snow back into the driveway. There is also a very large stump between the willow and maple in the side yard. It is not only large, it is located in an area that is always wet as it is near the swamp next door.
I placed a couple of lupines in part of the hole left by stump #4.
I have plans to fill the rest of that hole with some moisture loving plants - let the landscaping begin.
Flowers of Spring
The spring has not been abundant with flowers. With two hard winters in a row, and a late spring, that is not to be unexpected.. But, there were a few bright spots that made me smile;
Although I got a lot of greenery, only one lone daffodil flowered (and none of the hyacinths along the tree line bloomed)
The crabapple was gorgeous this year. Last year it was pretty, but it was even better this year. Unfortunately the blooms only lasted a week, so enjoyment was short lived.
The forsythia was treated harshly this year. Between the heavy Thanksgiving snow that bowed a lot of the branches so badly they snapped off (and what was encroaching in the driveway I pruned off hard), and my spring pruning so that I could get under it to mow, I'm surprised it gave me the benefit of any flowers at all.
The trees in back have leafed out enough that it is tough to tell I have neighbors back there.
Looks like the Peace Rose that I planted last year didn't make it thru the winter. I would have been surprised if it had. However, I got another rose at Agway a couple of weeks ago and it has been both beautiful and sinfully scentful.
And, I have been lugging seedlings and tender annuals in and out during frost dangers
One of those times, I'm pretty sure I brought in a hitchhiker :)
Soon, I will be able to plant the vegetable garden and I am getting the itch to do some landscaping - yep, spring is definitely here.
May 16, 2015
Making the Bed(s)
When I moved into this house, there were two raised beds that I used for limited vegetable gardening last summer. One bed was in decent shape, the other waws really falling apart. The beds were about 8 feet apart and I hate mowing (actually, I dislike having a lot of grassy area), so I covered the section between the two beds with landscape cloth. I had a vague plan to put in a 3rd raised bed at the time, and this year I decided was as good a time as any. The existing raised beds are on conceret cinder blocks, with wooden structures on top and I decided to carry the theme forward.
Instead of wood, I found raised bed kits online that are made of composite material and are easy to put together - no tools needed. The bonus was they are cheaper than buying the wood and hardware necessary (at least the sale I stumbled onto made it that way). The end of April I set up the lower cinder block structure then the first weekend in May I added the composite material and used excess dirt from the other two beds to fill it.
I filled that bed fairly full of dirt, including filling the cinder block holes since I left the landscape fabric in place. However, there is still plenty of room to add mulch/compost/manure in future years.
I also tore apart one of the old beds that was in really horrible shape - the wood was twisting away from the corner brackets and was very rotted (of course no pictures of that). I also wanted to move it about a foot closer to the new bed, from where the cinder blocks were. I dug out the cinder blocks and spent quite some time getting all the rocks, dirt and weeds out of the holes before setting up the new base.
Since I was relocating it, I also had to dig out more than a foot from the outside (you will see why in future pictures)
Finally I got the composite structure placed on it. Since this bed is not on landscape fabric, I did not refill the dirt quite as high as I did for the new bed. I didn't realize the new cinder blocks were slightly shorter than the old cinder blocks, so one edge is quite wide on the outside - oh well, I'll put in some thyme or something there.
The one remaining old bed will not be touched this year. It is still in decent shape even though the cinder blocks have been shoved out from beneath the wood. These pictures show why I actually ended up moving more than a foot of dirt for the restructured bed - the cinder blocks were pushed way out from the actual bed itself.
I do enjoy these flowers around the old bed too (flower pictures taken this morning). Not sure what they are, but they bloomed most of the summer last year so it looks nice.
July 13, 2014
I found that I have black raspberries growning in the front hedge. They are small and seedy, but delicious!
June 14, 2014
Rhodys in Bloom
When I got home from my bike trip, the rhodys out front were in full bloom - just gorgeous!
Last Sunday I got invited to ride with a bunch of other people that I didn't know. 20 bikes rode around the Big Lake. Okay, I only went for about 1/2 the ride because I needed to get home and do some chores, but still had a good time with this bunch of NH Riders.
Finished tearing out the rest of the rock wool in the living room, plugging the holes at the top of the plywood and installing real insulation during the evenings of last week. Next project - bedroom
And that is pretty much the news for the last week. Hope you all have a great weekend!
May 26, 2014
Yesteday I tore down the sheetrock from the living room wall in preperation for plugging up the gaps in the plywood and putting in real insulation. Then mowed the lawn (or the swamp in the case of about 1/4 of it). By the time I was done, I took a few moments to rest on the lawn furniture, enjoy the view from the south side of the house, and listen to the birds.
That empty lot fills in nicely and you can hardly tell I'm not in the country anymore.Very relaxing.
May 17, 2014
Rindge Bike Blessing
After all my hard work on the house on Saturday, I deserved a break and decided to take up an invitation to attend a bike blessing in Rindge - the last blessing I had attended was 1997 (I found the shirt the other day, that is why I know the year).
We met in Antrim, rode to Milford for breakfast, then headed back to Rindge. My bike is the second on back, and the one in front of it is the bike of my riding companion (guy with his back to the camera).
It was great weather for riding, but after the blessing I decided I better head back home and get some work done, while my riding companion rode to MA to place flowers on his mother's grave for Mother's Day.
I got my raised beds turned and pulled weeds from around the outside perimeters. Then recovered them with black plastic to help kill weed seeds. I'll be planting Memorial Day Weekend, assuming the weather cooperates anyway.
May 03, 2014
A couple of weekends ago, STBX and Jimmy delivered one of the old sheds from my previous house. I didn't think they could get it on the trailer (heck, didn't think it would fit), nor did I think it would make the trip. However, STBX proved me wrong; it fit nicely on the snowmobile trailer (which tips, making it easier to load and unload), and it survived. So now, I am the proud owner of a very used shed. Oh, and he left me the prybar that is proped against the shed in the second picture.
Later that day, STBX also delivered the patio furniture (one of my BD presents from 2004 - and he got the deck furniture). So now I just need to put some spar urathane on it to protect it from the weather.
last weekend I moved the snowblower,garden tools and mower to the shed. The garage is heaving a sigh of releif as it was stuffed to the gills!
March 23, 2014
Slowest Ever Sheetrock Job
Last weekend I showed a picture of one piece of sheetrock I had finally gotten placed in the stairway.
Sunday I got the second piece cut and screwed into the studs. I taped and mudded at night thru the week and after the final sanding yesterday morning got one coat of paint on it.
Will do the second coat of paint today and then maybe work on painting the stairs themselves to get rid of the aweful green. By the way, a piece of cream paint flaked off the exterior of the house. Guess what color of paint was underneath? Yep GREEN. Geeze, these people had a terrible fetish for that color!
Oh, and the grow light stand in the room at the bottom of the stairs - those were brought over by STBXWS last weekend and yesterday I started pepper seeds. In a couple of weeks I will start tomatoes. Because I don't have enough to do - LOL.
October 27, 2013
Last weekend I started cleaning up the garden: taking up the walkways, taking up the weed blocking fabric and brought my one lone, still green pumpkin inside to ripen.
Today, WS came over to clean up the leaves and he mentioned I still had peppers on the plants. So I went out and picked all the peppers - amazing that they were still good considering we have had plenty of 25 degree mornings. There were also two plants that were thriving in the cooler temps, and I decided to dig them up and overwinter them in pots, to be replanted next spring wherever I end up living. Being in the vegetable garden, they would be rototilled under if I left them in the ground.
The one on the right is a cooking thyme, the other is of the mint family. It used to have a marker, but it got lost so I'm unsure exactly what it is (although I can assure you it isn't the classic mint).
Hopefully they will thrive thru the winter, but if not, I haven't lost anything - I have gotten my $4 worth of herbs off of them over the summer.