Friday, May 28, 2010

Plant Brutality – Pruning Shears Style

Upon walking around Shady Hollow yesterday, I made a decision to do some massive pruning on my Burning Bushes. I already butchered (yes, I meant butchered) two that shaded too much of my vegetable garden. I could almost hear their screams of horror as my clippers and I set to work. Almost. The begging of beans, squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers  for sunlight drowned out the burning bush’s complaints.

Burning Bushes are almost weeds at Shady Hollow, thanks to a massive “granddaddy-of-them-all” down the street. Hungry birds feasting on their fall berries have spread them far and wide.

I like them, and early on transplanted them all over my infant garden. Now they are out of control.  So, one day this weekend I will grab a saw and my trusty pruners and make the circuit of the gardens and trim them way back. I plan on being heartless and cruel and prune them without mercy. I’m sure the hydrangea, butterfly bush, and other small shrubs will leap for joy once the onslaught of pruning provides them with more sun and room to grow.

A couple of years ago I dug a burning bush out of the front flower bed. Last week I pulled out and repotted 45 small off-spring from the location it once occupied. Burning Bush babies were springing up everywhere around where the original bush had grown. I potted them up for my granddaughter, who has not started her garden and needs some pass-along plants from grandma.

That’s just 1 of my long list of gardening chores to do. I’ll fill you in on the others as I tackle or prepared to tackle them as well.

Until then, brightest blessings.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Beautiful Morning

It’s wet at Shady Hollow this morning, so instead of gardening, I’m working on my blogs. The gardening will have to wait until it dries off a bit outside.

More plants are blooming or have just finished.

Sony 2009-2010 131 

The clematis and roses are very happy growing together.

Cannon 2010 123

This bush, a pass-along cutting from a work friend, bloomed happily earlier this month. The blossoms are a light pink color.

Cannon 2010 138

The pink foxgloves are outstanding. I wasn’t sure if they’d like this location, but apparently they do.Cannon 2010 134

Thanks for visiting. I’ll have more to show you as the summer progresses and more to tell you after I check on how things are doing after their day of rain yesterday.

Blessed Be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Overtime and iPods

I've been working overtime at my job. I'm much too old to be putting in this many hours, working late into the night. But with today's economy (and all my vet bills) and the influx of work we've had: well its necessary.

I would rather work late during the week than work on the weekend. However, I'm waiting for my boss to ask me to do that too. He actually told me the other day that I could, "work 20 hours a day" if I wanted to. Right. (oh, and yes, he was serious.)

I have spent some of those long boring hours listening to my new iPod. I never had an mp3 player of any kind before. I signed up for iTunes and learned that not only could I put my music on the iPod (I did); I can download all these neat podcasts, and audio books to listen to while I work. I am in love. I can listen to the content of my iPod instead of the constant droning of the machinery.

Now, at the end of another week, I'm very tired, but wanted to at least fill you in on why I have not posted much anywhere lately. I have flower pictures and garden updates to post this weekend. Until then, be blessed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Big Jobs: Part Two

The grass was so tall I could have had it baled as hay. Heck, it had started blooming and setting seed. The weeds in the "meadow" were also tall and mingled with young pivot hedge bushes, Asian Wintergreen vines and the ever present wild honeysuckle vines. Shady Hollow was a mess.

It was stormy yesterday afternoon, but I set to work between thunder storm threats mowing and trimming. The mowing went fine, and I managed to finish before the first thunder storm came through. Luckily we were on the South side of the storm and only got a sprinkle of rain.

Hubby had talked me into getting a gasoline powered string trimmer. I'd only used electric ones previously, so this was a new experience. The difference in cutting ability between an electric trimmer and this baby is amazing! I'm hooked.

The trimmer we bought has a blade attachment for tough to cut areas like the meadow. It made a world of difference in what I could cut. I finished the meadow just before our second thunder storm threat of the day. This one missed us as well, giving me time to take a much needed shower and hopefully wash away all the poison ivy juice that has deposited itself on my face and arms. (If I was unsuccessful there will soon be a poison ivy post).

At least I have one more "big job" out of the way for the moment. With that done, I can get back to digging and planting seeds.

Be Blessed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Big Jobs: Tillers and Power Washers

Last weekend I finally got the garden tilled and planted. Oh, sure, there are more things I want to plant (and will), but I got the "big-job" part done. I have gotten to a point where I don't like big jobs. I prefer several smaller jobs. I can easily mark them off the list and feel like I accomplished something. Big jobs seem to go on forever.

Just as I was finishing up my tilling, the tiller (a Honda Harmony) stopped tilling. The engine ran but the tines refused to turn. Hmmm. Hubby and I cleaned them out, oiled, greased, etc. and then tried again. Nope, they still refused to budge. A little more tinkering and hubby pronounced her broke. The gears that turn the tines appear to be stripped.

I hand dug the rest of the garden bed I had been tilling and finished my planting. A quick trip to my handy-dandy search engine uncovered the fact that stripped transmission gears are a common problem with these tillers. Oh Great! My tiller is about 5 years old, but has been used very little, but it's out of warranty.

My next search was for rebuild kits for the transmission. I found some places that sell them for about $90.00. A new tiller will cost around $350 - $400. I'm thinking over the pros and cons of fix vs. buy. I even told Hubby that I might do neither. My garden beds are small and if I apply a very deep layer of mulch and maintain it I might can just plant through the mulch with no tilling or digging at all, or at least very little. He is skeptical. I am not.

My second big job within a week's time was power-washing our deck. My son built this deck two years ago to replace the 30+ years old original deck. The original deck was about to fall down. That would have been a very bad thing, it it a two story high structure.

I finally got around to giving it a good cleaning yesterday. Hubby talked me into getting a 1700 psi electric power washer. He said washing a deck this size would be too much for me to do via the scrub brush method. After looking at the sorry state of the deck (think 2 years under trees on the north side of our cottage),I agreed.

I had never used a power washer in my life. It made the job so much easier than the mop and scrub method would have been. Don't get me wrong, it was still work and took several hours, but it was easier.

Of course, like any project I undertake, there were mishaps and adventures involved. The first hose I tried to use looked OK. But after getting it all attached to the power washer and the water turned on it sprayed a stream of water that would make Old Faithful proud. Hubby reminded me that hoses should be drained before freezing weather. He said that would have prevented the backyard hose from having such an early death.

I then managed to get the long hose out and hooked up. Yay! It worked, no leaks! All right! I began the power washing adventure. I had planned all week to wash the deck on Saturday and nothing was going to stop me: not work, husbands, critters, or wind.

I did mention that our deck faces the north? On power-washing day we were blessed with a stiff breeze from the north with gusts above 25 mph. My mind was made up to wash the deck, and wash it I did. It felt like white water rafting with the wind blowing all that spray back into my face and soaking my cloths. Luckily, I was not cold. Wet I didn't mind, but I don't do cold. The sunshine kept me warm as I peered through mist covered glasses to try and see what I was doing. I figured if hubby pointed out a spot I missed I could blame it on not being able to see.

The only other problem I had was convincing a carpenter bee that cleaning the deck was not going to interfere with her efforts to drill a hole in the deck rail. Pesky bee. We reached an agreement and she flew off until I could finish washing down her neighborhood.

It took almost the entire afternoon to clean off two years worth of grime. The deck is clean and looks good. I was even able to sit out there and enjoy the fruits of my labor for awhile after I finished and changed into dry clothing.

I have been able to mark two of my "big jobs" off the list for awhile. Now the grass needs cut, the meadow needs a visit from the string trimmer, and there is more planting to do. But today is Mother's Day and I'm not doing any big jobs today.

Be Blessed....and Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there.