Saturday, February 28, 2015


 NOT YOU!  I'm removing sod in my backyard, as I do every surprise there! This year, besides adding to the width of the gravel paths that border the lawn,(thus making the lawn ever smaller, heh heh...did I mention that I am not a fan of grass?) I opted for creating a "POT PORT." It's a 3' x 6' widening of the path where I can group all sorts of pots this season.
The brown tarp covers the sod that I took out...just trying to do my part for sod eradication...and it gives me an excuse to look for some "garden whimsy" to place there with the pots... If I had a dollar for every square foot of sod I've removed over the years...entire lawns, in some cases...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


 After two big winds storms this winter, our large 70 ft, 35 year old Silver Maple is a mess! Three major branches on the south side (when the wind came from) are hanging down into our neighbor's yard. Luckily the broken branches are wedged into place. Most were broken from the first storm and we kept our fingers crossed that they wouldn't fall down during the second storm and take out the fence. We just got lucky!
I confess to a "Goldilocks" feeling about this giant shade tree. Sure, I want some shade...but not too much, only just enough on those very hot summer days...And I want some leaves for mulch...but not too many, just enough for layering in the mulch bin. At long last, and $700 later, I may get my wish. The arborist says he can take out all the broken stuff, clean out the sucker growth and thin out the ends of the main branches that tend to completely blot out the sun.
Since this tree is "land locked" and no bucket truck (even with a 60' arm) can get near it, it will mean that the trimmer has to climb into it. They don't use climbing spikes these days (they've learned that spikes make wounds that invite pests and diseases to enter the tree) so he'll have to be quite careful not to slip. He'll be working at 35-40 feet above the ground (without a net). 
I'll reward the young man (you have to be young to do this kind of stuff) with some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. It seems the least I can do for someone who earns his living risking his neck climbing into trees! 

Friday, February 20, 2015


 When I let the cat out this morning I looked up to see this! These are a type of "wave clouds" according to Mr. A. They appeared at the edge of a thin cloud bank to the west over the Rogue Valley.
Each "finger" appeared to have a face...sort of like looking at the cloud version of Mt. Rushmore! They lasted for several minutes before fading into the sky. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


 There's something about President's Day weekend that always makes me set a garden goal to complete by then (weather allowing)...this time  the weather has been almost balmy...60 degrees and blindingly sunny. The goal was to empty and re-position the mulch bin (circa 2002 from Gardener's Supply). The concrete blocks it was sitting on have sunk into the clay soil about 3" since we placed it here at Angel Crest Manor in 2012. That made it lean back and distort my neighbor's cyclone fence...not good. So the only thing to do was empty the entire bin. The finished mulch that you see below was on the bottom of the bin just waiting for me to dig it out. Of course the newer kitchen scraps mixed with dry ground leaves on the top caved in when I took out the good stuff so I had to quickly shovel it into the wheelbarrow, red worms and all. After we re-set the bin on the concrete blocks (under-gardener help required, of course) I put the contents of the wheelbarrow back in the bin, layering the fresh scraps with more ground dry maple leaves and compost starter. 
Screening the "finished" mulch is back-breaking. Jack, my trusty under-gardener fabricated this 1/2" screen frame just for this job. I use my garden fork to push the mulch through the screen and the rocks, sticks, bark and fruit labels are all that is left on top. I pour those off and add another batch to the screen...on and on. I think I may have done almost a cubic yard (27 sq ft) this time! Considering that bagged compost goes for around $12 per 1.5 cu ft. bag, I've saved myself some dollars and have a far richer blend. Most bagged stuff is mainly peat moss. Mine is all kitchen scraps with the added benefit of worm poop from my red wigglies!   
It's ibuprofen time tonite!