Friday, June 29, 2012

Water fountains and more...

Every year I make this promise to myself - "Myself," I say, "if you keep that water fountain clean and clear all year, I'll build you a nice water fall and fountain next spring." Well, as you may have guessed we are still without the beautiful, cascading trickle of water with a clear pool of rippling waves at the bottom. No lily pads. Cute little toads still await, eager adventurers, looking for a cool place to meditate on the happiness of life. It is but a desert oasis with the exception of the cooling water - more like a mirage in fact.
This year was going to be different. I was going to stay the course and, like the boy amid the burning wreck, never leave my post come Helen, Lucy or high water. Alas, I have failed again. With a couple of full weeks; (a friend's wedding, our harvest, and struggling with hordes of weeds) the green algae and limpid strands of grossness still abound. Due to mass protest against showing improper content, I will not show pictures that would most certainly give nightmares to the young and blot the happiness of the old.
Instead I will show the cleaned out, sparkling fresh fountain. Yes, I have done my penance and brought it back to its former glory. Try not to notice the mounds of weeds or the unkempt border; just bask in the clean, cool, refreshing splash and hear the bubbling and gurgling trickle of water. (also look for that brash young hummingbird that came in for a photo op and tried to steal the show)

And so now I tell myself, "Myself, there is always next year. If you keep the fountain clean..."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Harvesting time...

I noticed on Sunday night that some of our broccoli was going to flower, so tonight I went out to pick it. While there, the sugar snap peas were in full swing, and then the radishes were getting too big, then I noticed that one carrot seemed pretty big... well I came in with all of this and I'll have to get the rest harvested later this week as it is getting near our girls bedtime. It's all so fun when everything actually is working, and not forgetting that it is time to grow forth and multiply. Last year isn't much to base things off of, but we've had much better luck this year. I am thankful!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's a boy...or maybe a girl...

Not being familier with the feminine or masculine characteristics of the Praying Mantis, I had a hard time telling which ones were boys and which were girls. They all had the same cry, but that is no way to tell for sure. We did the Marlin theory, the top half is Henry and the bottom is Henrietta. They were cute, but as is the bugs life, no sooner had they hatched but they were packing their bags and heading out into the great wide world for life, liberty, and the pursuit of juicy bugs. 

Also, taking a walk down in Olympia, I came across this garden. It is the community/school garden at John Rogers High School. Now here is class, style, and order. They didn't think about square foot gardening, they did square foot gardening. Drip irrigation is not something they are saving up for, but something they have! (Not that it will be much help with all the rain we get) 
It was almost the pinnacle of orderly perfection I've tried to attain (with the exception of too few tomato plants) so I took pictures and will save them for when I'm planning out more gardens around here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mostly about nothing in particular...

This is a post about the circle of life... Death and new life. Joy and sorrow. Scarcity and Abundance. 

Into our little circle has come much good, but as old Pelham Grenville Wodehouse used to say, well as my faulty memory remembers it anyway, "Can this be a perfectly happy world? When, say, a crumpet gets a bit of goose, what of a bean who's just gotten biffed with a sock full of sand. Or when Moab is one mans wash pot and after he has cast his shoe over Edom, what's to say of the man who lives in Moab or Edom?" 
This may all seem confusing to the non-wodehouse enthusiast, but to simplify it, when things are going good for the gardener who has just gotten rid of the pesky mole, that pesky mole's family has just had a loss that time itself cannot erase. So it is at our humble abode. No sooner had the fragrance garden been finished, furnished, and ready for blooms, scents, and moonlit nights; but a mole came to disturb the soft turf. 8 mounds later, he met his demise.

The late frank G. mole esq.

Also, following the advice of fellow blogger, Noelle at RAMBLINGS FROM A DESERT GARDEN, I checked under the leaves in my garden and found a few young summer squash and a bucketful of peas! 
Young Joseph, Jordan, and Jemima

Ripe for the pickin'!

Broccolli - a bit more than we will eat!

And, if that wasn't enough sweetness and light to spread around, we a few new blooms on the premises as well.

Flowering Elderberry (he forgot to flower last year) The dark foliage looks gorgeous all year (until the leaves fall off)

From the back rose garden, Dick Clark. The edges are "frilly" (as my wife calls it) 

Another rose from the back rose garden, but I forgot to mark it. I call it pretty, but my wife wants to call it nice.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Economy and wood chips...

It seems to burgeon in the soul of almost every gardener... economy. "I know that I could buy that plant, but I'll get a start from my neighbor..." or perhaps its "if I compost, then I won't have to buy good dirt from the nursery..." Ways of cutting costs and getting the same thing for less is a good thing. I'm going to pass along a new economical measure I just learned.

We have an area that always gets overgrown extremely fast and I wanted to kill the grass/weeds/morning glories and then keep them from coming back as best possible. Wood chips seemed like the best way, but they are $20 a yard at the local landscaping place here, so I looked on craig's list and was planning on posting a want ad. However, there was already a person on there offering drop off of wood chips for free! He dropped of 7 or 8 yards and I was able to cover then entire area without spending any money. Of course there are a few drawbacks. The wood chips were from a tree they had cut down and chipped up which means that since it was a pine tree, there were a lot of pine needles. I probably wouldn't use it on a nice flower bed or an area my kids would walk, however, for this particular area I wasn't particular at all. It worked very nicely. So, like Red Green used to say, "If the women don't find you handsome, they should a least find you handy!" Next time you are in search of wood chips, check around before you buy and you may be able to save!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lots of blooms and a new arrival...

We had a nice day today, so I took the camera around the old homestead and put some pictures together. It helps me think that all this hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'!

We also had a new visitor. He may look like zorro with the black mask, but he is really a Cedar Waxwing. The best part (as the person who buys all of the birdseed 'round these parts) is that he actually was eating berries from some bushes that most of the birds were avoiding. They were planted for that very reason, so maybe the rest will get the idea as well
(Yes that is our kiddy pool and those are toys in the background)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lots of birds...

We have had an array new birds arriving since spring has hatched its multitude. Sadly, there are quite a few starlings as well, but the young sparrows and finches, but we can't all be picky. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Finishing up the fragrance garden...

This is one of those "aren't I amazing" posts. If you are like me, you probably don't find these quite as enthralling as the person who posted it apparently did, but because you've followed their garden you read through and have a pleasant comment like, "interesting" or "wow".  However, if you are the kind of person who does like to see things go from nothing to everything in two weekends or someone who does really nice garden projects and enjoys laughing (not to their face, of course) at the follies of people who try and fail to meet your pursuit of perfection, then you'll love this post.   

before the fun began...
a bit of rototilling.
little ones learning to love dirt!
The pathway is done, now where do these plants go?

At the end of last weekend...
Learning to build a paver patio! (the frame work)
Put the chairs over the flaws and no one will ever notice.

All finished! the view from our front door.

The view from the lawn.

From sitting down.

At night... notice the glas of wine about to be enjoyed on the chair! (i think i earned it)

We also had a few carrots and radishes growing to gargantuan size, so we picked them along with some lettuce and spinach that had begun to bolt. Our in-laws were blessed (or couldn't think of a polite excuse) with the extras. As long as everything keeps growing the way it is, we'll have a bit extra now to give to the neighbors.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The war of the rats...

I cannot "a tale unfold, whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, thy knotted and combined locks to part and each particular hair to stand on end, like quills upon the fretful porpentine [or porcupine to most of us]" because I am not clever with words and have not plumbed the depths of human tragedy. Dostoyevsky, Gobol, or possibly Tolstoy would have done it well. Yet as your humble (or possibly not so humble) chronicler of these adventures I will do my best.
As the song says, "This is the end, beautiful friend, the end. Of our elaborate plans the end." The war between good and evil, vermin and human, stealing and a hard days work rewarded has gone on for centuries. Before we were born and long after we are gone it will continue. However, each of us has the responsibility, nay the duty to do our little part. When darkness raises its ugly head or perhaps chews on the wood in your walls, one and all must come to the aid of the party. Cry Havoc! and let loose the traps (filled with peanut butter and dog food) of war.
With no defiance sent or formal declaration of war, we were invaded. The scurrying of feet and gnawing of wood as they entrenched themselves beneath our very feet was all we heard. Measures were taken. The stench of Death filled the heater vents. Long adventures to the underworld of our house were taken. Their defeat was inevitable.
Now we raise the victory flag. They were not our beloved adversary such a dandelions or stink weed. No they go to their garbage can (wrapped in a sealed bag) unwept, unmourned, forgotten. So we pass from this dark day with a lesson learned... Seal up your dog and bird food.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More weekend fantastic, full, fickle, fragrance fun...

You may have guessed it from the title, but I'll still tell you. We are making progress. Between the late Friday hours and on to the late Sunday hours, I didn't get as much done as I wanted, but the yard does look different. It seems with every project that things are always different on paper, than in reality. For example the arbor seats we planned on were gone when we went to purchase and Fred Meyers wasn't planning on getting any more in. Also, the only Abelia we could find was not scented. Well, like McDonalds says, "When life gives you strawberries, make strawberry lemonade." Or like R W Emerson once said, "For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else." Or to put it another way, we lost Abelia and gained Sarcocca and lost an arbor but gained (after we get my mother in law to come up and make it) a paver patio for some chairs!
The writer chappies put thing so succinctly.
Here are a few pictures, it doesn't look finished, and that is only because it isn't. However, it will make for lots of fun the next week or so.


Watching Dad work, and feeding the baby

work in progress