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Posts Tagged ‘garden cats’

Friday, 10 August 2018

My goal today, other than getting enough sleep in the morning, was to sift the compost from bin one, thus having one empty bin to start layering green and brown in, as clean clippings are now frequently created by deadheading and tidying. (I do not put weeds in my compost.)

The day started lovely and cool.


Agapanthus ‘Xera’s Cobalt’

Echinops (blue globe thistle)

Skooter wanted to help.

Bin one looked promising.

Skooter watching a bug.

first barrow of sifted compost

an excellent bin

Now Frosty wanted some attention.

Two and a quarter hours later, I had sifted and dumped five good wheelbarrows of luscious compost.  And then, ominously, the sky brightened.

And out came the sun.

With this much left to go, I went into the house, planning to finish in the evening:

The temperature read 77 degrees, much too hot for me.

I spent the afternoon and into the early evening catching up completely on writing this blog, an unusual occurrence as I tend to run days behind.  That took so long that I almost did not make it back outside in time.  We had been planning a campfire dinner, but almost as soon as Allan got some corn wrapped in foil, a light rain began.  I finished the compost project anyway.

Allan’s photos in the evening:

I realized from the heavy fragrance that my brugmansia had its first flower.

rainwater for the barrels

the final wheelbarrow

Frosty escaping the rain

a new layer of newspaper for the bottom of the bin

Mission accomplished!

 

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In real time, we interrupt the narrative flow to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas a happy day.  The blog still running five days behind is keeping it from going on winter hiatus.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

I had a late start because of getting a solid eight hours of sleep for the first time in awhile.  By noon, the weather looked to be a windless 45 degrees and I decided I would do some weeding.

the rain gauge from last night

Skooter on the roof

Frosty was watching Skooter from below the arbour.

Frosty went up to the cat door platform and they exchanged looks.

This is part of Skooter’s route to and from the roof:

I clipped some catmint in the front garden.  That must have released some scent; all of a sudden both Skooter and Frosty converged upon it.

I thought to myself that I had made a mistake in leaving the much less sunny front yard for weeding now.  I’d be warmer if I had done the front garden during the milder days and saved the sunny south side for chilly days.

so much warmer back here where I already weeded

In Allan’s garden, a tall mahonia catches the sun.

In the front garden, east side, the big libertia is all of a sudden on the move.  I will dig up these smaller ones and take them to the droughty gardens at the port.  I might also remove the rather tatty large one and replace with a smaller one or replant somewhere in the back garden.

In different areas, I have four large swathes of epimedium that should be sheared back so the early flowers show.  Googling tells me I can and maybe should wait till February.

pieris backed with epimedium

OH, I see something that might interest Mr. Tootlepedal.

I don’t know much about such things, but that must be a lichen or a fungus…Maybe a lichen IS a fungus.  I am uninformed.  With a hardy fuchsia for good measure.

I was glad to be in the front garden when Seaside gardener Pam drove by, on her way to the port with her mom, Harriet. They stopped for a brief visit.

Pam and Harriet

After they left, I began weeding the shady part of the garden.  It wasn’t as hard as I had thought it would be.  My hands stopped hurting from the cold and I made great progress.

shady front garden, before

The bed to the right was a solid groundcover mass of baby dwarf fireweeds that peeled off in sheets.

Billardia longiflora

Billardia longiflora berries

As the sun set, I could feel the ground starting to freeze and the weeding became slightly more difficult.

after, with hands to cold to pick up the last of the debris

I went indoors at dusk. After hearing the sounds of raking, I looked out the front window. I do think that Allan had raked this path.

I was able to erase the front middle and east beds from the work list, especially since I downgraded the heading from “good weeding” to just weeding.  Now I can think about whether or not I am going to get a big pile of mulch.  (The problem with said big pile is that it will block the garage.)

Skooter had worn himself out with his roof escapades and/or a catmint high.  (Catmint, Nepeta, is not the same as catNIP.  It doesn’t make cats as high as catnip does for some, but they still enjoy it in a mild way.)

naptime

I got a most pleasing Christmas card from Jo and Bob, who you might remember as former clients of ours till they moved away last year.  I loved seeing their new house, on a lake.

Longtime blog followers may like to see this.

And I got teary-eyed over this photo of my good friend Coco.  I miss all three of them!

lovable Coco!

Tonight: The treat of the season finale of Survivor and some more Black Cat Bookshop mystery.

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Thursday, 30 November 2017

I had been exhausted enough so that I slept late and missed most of a good gardening day.  Since I usually manage only five or six hours of sleep, I welcome an eight hour sleep even if it cuts into the day.

In the afternoon, I managed some gardening accomplishments.

I wanted to improve the south east view from my south window by cutting down a tatty looking Sanguisorba ‘Korean Snow’.

before

after, giving a bit more depth to the winterscape

In the center bed, one of the good things about Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is that the old foliage pulls right off without any clipping necessary.

before

after; now the crocuses will show better

Rozanne debris

Just pulling some old cosmos made another area look somewhat better.

before

after

The last thing I wanted to accomplish in my two hours of gardening time was to take down a big stand of Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ so that I could see a smoke bush better.

before

after

I left that pile of debris lying where it fell because of my compost bin situation.

I started a pile across the path from the compost bins until I can get their contents lowered.

temporary pile

my compost bin problem, yesterday; it is even taller now.

The bins will make me a lot of free mulch.  Allan said we could shift them over, sometime when and if all three are empty, and add a fourth pallet bin.  However, I think the problem is that I put three to five big balls of basket soil and plants from Long Beach in them.  Next year, if I set those out separately to break down. I think I might have enough room for work debris and home debris.  Just in case I never have all three empty at the same time again!

I hope for a nice day tomorrow, to empty the third one off to the side, and start shifting and breaking down the piles.

I took a big rooted piece of Darmera peltata to the outer swale and tossed it at the edge of the seasonal pond, just to give it a chance.  The bridge to the outer garden would be deadly slick to walk on, were it not for the wire mesh that gives good footing. We must remember to re-staple the end at the gate though, as it has become a bent up foot-tripper.

I saw that the big pile of crab pots has been moved out from the corner by the gear shed next door.

My corner view is back, of a tarp and old board.  At night, I will be able to see more lights from the port.

I admired a selection of still-blooming hardy fuchsias.

Helianthus ‘Gold Lace’ is finally blooming.

Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and smokebush

Skooter by the water boxes

All afternoon (all two hours of it), I wore these gloves of Allan’s, only because I found them in my pocket from when I took them and did not use them on Crab Pot Tree decorating day.  I love them.  I find them so much more comfortable than blue Atlas gloves.  Finally, a glove other than “non latex exam gloves” that I can stand to work in.  They let me feel what I was doing.

good brown “Wonder Grip” gloves

Here is a useful tip that I read in Fine Gardening magazine.  When your glove wears out a finger, cut a good finger out of another even more worn out glove and insert it into the finger space.  The reader tip said that even works if you put a glove finger into the thumb space.  I will try it.

Yesterday, an artist friend from Ocean Park, Carole B., dropped off a package for me because she is down sizing.  I waited till this evening to open it so that my appreciation would not be rushed.

It contained treasures.

Carole herself made this cloth beach cottage:

adorned with treasures from the beach

And she made these brightly coloured kitten mittens (shown with a plush kitty):

Allan says these will be “wall art”…the mittens, not the plush toy, which is now on the back of a chair.

The main feature of the box was “cottage books”.

I immediately sat down to read Woodland Style, for which she wrote a note saying it was “for Allan, because he builds things”.

It is full of natural projects, including this amazing bird feeder hat.  I think Mr Tootlepedal should have one, and set his camera on automatic and sit outside to have his photo taken.

You can read more about Erica Fielder’s bird feeder hats here and here.

I must do this on my round table that sits out in the bogsy woods:

The book is full of more whimsical headgear decorated with pine cones, bark, flowers, and moss, ideas for making furniture and art from roots and branches and natural embellishments, and even recipes for foraged foods..

I look forward to delving into the rest of the stack of cottage books.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Back to just six hours of sleep. I had hoped for a clear day to empty one compost bin and start chopping and shifting debris.  Cold wind daunted me at first, soon followed by rain.

Allan started working on the window box project outside, which he prefers so as to not spread sawdust around his workshop.

He was soon driven into the work shop by rain.

I finished my latest Steinbeck book.  Even though it was excellent, I did not enjoy it as much as the others, because I didn’t especially like most of the characters.  Steinbeck could write a good female character, but in this book the one young woman character is just a background prop for the story.

It is one of his farm workers trilogy, along with Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.

It did share the detailed Steinbeckian descriptions of places:

Doc was the one main character that I did like.

My favourite passage in the book:

The book came with something I’d never seen in all my many interlibrary loans, a bookmark saying “Read Me First.”

I was glad to finish it. Tonight, we will watch the old movie of The Grapes of Wrath. I have a feeling I will like it much better than In Dubious Battle.

I have a growing stack of library books to read next.

The cozy cat mystery must be read soon because it is another interlibrary loan.

As soon as tomorrow’s busy Crab Pot Tree day is over, my hope is to have nothing especially social till Christmas eve, leaving lots of time for reading and compost-turning.

Before dinner and the Grapes of Wrath film, I succumbed to the Van Engelen 40% off end of season sale and will soon have 550 more bulbs of crocus and miniature narcissi to plant.

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Monday, 10 November 2014

Our mission today was to get the bulbs planted in Erin’s garden in north Long Beach.  I optimistically had the small batches of bulbs for Golden Sands and Andersen’s RV Park along as well, hoping we might get done with Erin’s in time to at least get the ones at Andersen’s planted.  First, however, we had to get the tender scented geraniums and a few other potted plants put into our greenhouse as cold weather may finally arrive soon.

right: table of scented geraniums

right: table of scented geraniums

inside: horribly messy little greenhouse

inside: horribly messy little greenhouse

Didn’t have time to tidy the greenhouse up.  Wish I had thought of it yesterday morning while we waited for the weather to clear.  Just had time to reinstall a couple of shelves that I had removed to make room for tall tomatoes.

inside: still messy but the plants have been moved in

inside: still messy but the plants have been moved in…

and I got a last little bounty from the tomatoes.

and I got a last little bounty from the tomatoes.

If I had been less busy (lazy?) and kept the tomatoes well-watered into November, I think I would have had more late season cherry tomatoes.

Driving through Long Beach, I noticed that all the planters with chrysanthemums still look grand, although the only one I could photograph was the one by where we were stopped at the red light.

chrysanthemums and hardy fuchsias

yellow chrysanthemums and hardy fuchsias

And then, Erin’s garden, where we brought 409 bulbs to plant, along with 437 more that Erin had acquired at Costco:

Erin's acquisitions

Erin’s acquisitions

In the back porch garden, I laid out a selection of brightly coloured tall tulips and some small bulbs including Tulip bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’, Tulip sulvestris, and Fritllaria meleagris that will be fun to look at up close atop the wall.

bulbs

Across the little courtyard, I echoed the colours in the semicircle garden.

ready to plant

ready to plant

My friend Felix showed up.  At first, all he was interested in was his breakfast.

Felix on the back porch

Felix on the back porch

I admired a sweet new little planting area that Erin has made by the basement door:

steps

good job, Erin!

In the garden of the wee cottage behind the big house, I placed bags of my personal favourite tulips, the ones with green markings.  This year, the ones I have of those are Green Wave, Apricot Parrot, Chinatown, White Parrot, and Green Star.  Some of the ones I did not get this year just because I can’t have everything are Artist, Golden Artist, Spring Green, and Virichic.  I do find myself wishing I had ordered every one of the viridiflora tulips as I do love them so.

cottage garden with some bags of tulips placed to plant

cottage garden with some bags of tulips placed to plant

Erin wanted many tulips in the curved bed by the street.  Allan planted a lot of the bright Costco ones out there and we do hope the resident deer do not discover them!

streetside bed

streetside beds before planting

Felix joined me after his meal.

Felix joined me after his meal.

felix

the cottage porch

the cottage porch

by the cottage door

by the cottage door

a little village under the birdbath

a little village under the birdbath

While I laid out the bulbs in the house and cottage gardens, Allan pulled old cosmos out of the boat garden on the west lawn.

Allan's photo: boat garden before

Allan’s photo: boat garden before

Allan's photo: before

Allan’s photo: before

Allan's photo: cosmos pulled

Allan’s photo: garden cosmos pulled

garden boat before and after (Allan's photos)

garden boat before and after (Allan’s photos)

I then got narcissi, crocuses, muscari, and some of the drumstick alliums (the latter from Erin’s stash of bulbs)  all laid out on the west lawn boat garden, with Felix following me and looking awfully cute sitting on the boat, while my camera was way across the lawn and down the steps in the van.

bulbs laid out to plant in the west bed

bulbs laid out to plant in the west bed

Meanwhile, Allan had begun planting and doing some fall clean up in the cottage and back porch gardens.  Just as all the bulbs were placed, Debbie arrived as pre- arranged to pick up some catmint for next spring’s Master Gardener Spring Seminar sale, and of course my new friend Ralph was with her.

the delightful Ralph!

the delightful Ralph!

Debbie sorting out good pieces of catmint from bits of debris

Debbie sorting out good pieces of catmint from bits of debris

And then….I began to plant dozens upon dozens of bulbs in the west garden.  My planting was much easier as the ground was not rooty as it is in the cottage garden, so I finished before Allan did and began edging the garden bed.  I managed to dump one wheelbarrow load of sod strips, and after that I called to Allan for help with the next three as I am decrepit at wheelbarrowing out the back gate over rough, sloping ground.

Felix did not come back to the boat with me.  Instead, he hung around with Allan…and here:

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo, in our van

Frustratingly, the whole project took longer than I had planned, so my foolish dream that we would get done in time to do some work at Andersen’s as well was not to be.  With only an hour of daylight left, I decided to go ahead and edge around the boat instead of saving that for another day.

boat edge cut with half moon edger

boat edge cut with half moon edger

and pulled

and pulled

When the job was all done and the sun was low on the horizon, we were both pleased with the results.

edged

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo: me being very happy with the job.  And tired.

Allan’s photo: me being very happy with the job. And tired.

house

boat

boat2

almost sunset

almost sunset

the back porch garden

the back porch garden

other side of back porch garden

other side of back porch garden

Allan's photos

Allan’s photos, after weeding and bulb planting

cottage garden

cottage garden

I did not think till later when I was reading the Tootlepedal blog that we should have done a closeup of that very large fungus that was lying by the edge of the garden.  Allan thought Erin might have placed it there in hopes that it would reproduce.  So here’s a cropped closeup:

fungus: lower right

fungus: lower right

sunset

We went straight home and I was able to plant a few camassia in my garden back by the bogsy woods; I was glad to get the time to plant without a dangerous wind in the trees.  I yanked more of the Gladiolus papilio out of my garden boat and got some of the “green” tulips planted.  The Gladiolus, which is a cool spooky white and purple bell shaped one, will go in various gardens.  (That’s the one I gave some of to Debbie last time I was distributing plant starts, and I have a lot more now in a bucket in my greenhouse!)

Gladiolus papilio in summer: looking up from underneath

Gladiolus papilio in summer: looking up from underneath

As I finished the few bags of bulbs that I had time for, the sun was setting behind the bogsy woods.

sunset behind the alder grove

sunset behind the alder grove

I think that tonight we must watch a Doctor Who special (The Time of the Doctor) on DVD because it is about to be (or already is) overdue from the library.  Perhaps bulbing exhaustion will allow Doctor Who and an episode of Midsomer Murders.

But…wait!  A pre-telly check of email brought this:

email

Uh oh.  Within a few minutes, 300 more bulbs were ordered (100 white narcissi mix, 100 species crocus mix, 100 more Baby Moon narcissi.  What bulbhead could resist the sale?

 

 

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Saturday, 25 October 2014

We had 47 mph winds and Allan saw the excitement of a big branch coming down in the bogsy woods, on the gear shed side, and breaking as it hit another branch on the way down.

Of course, I am pleased about next summer's campfire wood.

Of course, I am pleased about next summer’s campfire wood. (Allan’s photo)

IMG_1831

Out the front window, the Tetrapanax showed the wind gusts.

Out the front window, the Tetrapanax showed the wind gusts.

dogwood outside kitchen window whipping sideways in wind and rain

dogwood outside kitchen window whipping sideways in wind and rain

The wind in the bogsy wood was so dramatic that it was hard to stand up to take this (safely far away) photo:

rain

Later, while I worked on adding more photos to my page about Gram’s garden, Allan prepared the framework for the upcoming Halloween Avenue of Spooky Plants, through which brave trick or treaters will arrive to the porch.

We left the posts up since last year.

We left the posts up since last year. (Allan’s photo)

He put up the crosspieces of bamboo.

He put up the crosspieces of bamboo. (Allan’s photo)

I’ll wait till closer to Halloween before attaching the plants, as they could blow every whichway in the wind.

I had good company while blogging.

cats

Later, I finished a book, Mean Girls Grown Up. While I did like some passages, I debated whether the subject was good for this blog, and decided to save the topic of friendship for sometime this winter, perhaps. Now and then this summer, I’ve written a paragraph on the subject and then deleted it before publishing because I hesitated to be so revealing. (As Ann Lamott so amusingly wrote, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”)

I then began a new to me Margaret Drabble book, Seven Sisters. Immediately I fell in love with the (sort of) chapter titles being set off to the right side of the text. (Below, what is not clear is that she is not HIGH, she’s in an upper floor flat.)

drabble

drabble2

Ms. Drabble, how I love thee.

suffolk

I was surprised to see Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Sayers invoked in the same sentence:

heyer

That’s nothing against Georgette Heyer; my significant other of the 80s, Bryan, loved her books and during those years I read every one of them and loved them, too. He also got me to read Jane Austen for the first time, and A.A. Milne and P.G. Wodehouse. For a punk rock club manager and soundman, he had the gentlest of reading taste.

Surely on Sunday, I would get another rainy day to finish my Drabble book and probably read another book, as well.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Our rainy day off was not to be. We woke to rain, then sunshine and a rainbow over School Hill.

The dark sky had moved to the north.

The dark sky had moved to the north.

Another heavy rain squall passed right after I took the rainbow photo and I thought we had a reprieve from work. I yearned to get back to my Drabble novel! And then….out came the sun.

I decided to take a look in the back garden to see how many tree branches had come down in the storm. I am utterly fascinated with every little change in our garden: what’s blooming, how deep the puddles are, and how many branches and twigs have fallen in a storm.

Onyx came from next door to greet me.

Onyx came from next door to greet me.

Dicentra scandens still blooming by the sunporch.

Dicentra scandens still blooming by the sunporch.

moss on the old dogwood outside our window

moss on the old dogwood outside our window

The rain had filled the water barrels.

The rain had filled the water barrels.

water

...except for this one, which has a leak.

…except for this one, which has a leak.

I hadn't battened the hatches well at all, as the patio shows.

I hadn’t battened the hatches well at all, as the patio shows.

a branch halfway up the garden

a branch halfway up the garden

The way the branches spear several inches into the ground is why I don't go into the back garden in a wind storm.

The way the branches spear several inches into the ground is why I don’t go into the back garden in a wind storm.

It was imbedded about three inches into the ground.

It was imbedded about three inches into the ground.

BIG branches

BIG branches

I stared up at my alder trees for a little while, trying to figure out which tree the really big branches had come from. I couldn’t see any break that explained the large amount of alder on the ground. Then I looked to my right.

trunk

tree

It took me a couple of minutes to realize that the small-of-girth dead alder in Nora’s back yard had snapped halfway up and fallen mostly on our side.

trunks

You can see to the right how very much bigger the trunk of our Danger Tree (cut last spring) is.

You can see to the right how very much bigger the trunk of our Danger Tree (cut last spring) is.

The fallen tree was so dead it had split all apart when it hit the ground.

The fallen tree was so dead it had split all apart when it hit the ground.

Its debris stretched 3/4 of the way across the 80 foot wide lot.

Its debris stretched 3/4 of the way across the 80 foot wide lot.

An old tricycle had broken from a branch falling from one of our trees.

An old tricycle (now a planter) had broken from a branch falling from one of our trees.

I went to fetch Allan to share in my marveling at all our campfire wood and wondered if I should try to find a friend with a big chainsaw. He walked down Nora’s yard and took some photos from that angle.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Allan's photo showing the broken trunk

Allan’s photo showing the broken trunk

Allan's photo; the flat topped trunk in the background is our former danger tree.

Allan’s photo; the flat topped trunk in the background is our former danger tree.

Unbeknownst to me, he also took some photos of me checking out the water level in the bogsy woods.

I had no idea I was being followed by Onyx, who was being chastised by Smokey.

I had no idea I was being followed by Onyx, who was being chastised by Smokey.

IMG_1127

I had found that the swales had an attractively pleasing amount of water.

the meander line swale

the meander line swale

the bridge swale

the bridge swale

chairs blown around the fire circle

chairs and tables blown around the fire circle

I went into the house for a few minutes and was amazed, when I returned to the scene, to find that Allan had already managed to cut the trunk off of the fence.

allan

Even more amazing, he had cut it with our corona hand saw:

Allan's photo showing little red saw

Allan’s photo showing little red saw

He cut the weight off the Nora side first and then braced the long piece with a thingie from his workshop:

IMG_1139

Allan's photos of bracing thingie.

Allan’s photos of bracing thingie.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo: It’s a “table saw outfeed stand”, used upside down.

We couldn’t linger to do more clean up as we had decided to work, mostly a drive around day checking for storm damage and fallen over plants.

The front garden path is filling up with ingredients for the Halloween Corridor of Spooky Plants.

The front garden path is filling up with ingredients for the Halloween Corridor of Spooky Plants.

On the way out of our driveway, our own personal Lake Street puddle was much bigger than usual.

work

I’ve had so much to say about wind that I’ll make a separate post for today’s and tomorrow’s fall clean up work.

When we got home from work, we spent some enjoyable time until dark picking up sticks and rolling trunks in the back garden. The weather remained so pleasant and windless, and some of the fallen tree wood was so dry, that I wished we had some sausages so that we could have a campfire. (I find the roasting of sausages to be essential to campfire enjoyment.) The next morning, I took photos of our progress:

27 October:  LOTS of campfire wood

27 October: LOTS of campfire wood

The tree trunks will be an edge to the garden for now.

The tree trunks will be an edge to the garden for now.

They may or may not be a permanent edge with soil build up behind them...or they may be for burning next summer.

They may or may not be a permanent edge with soil build up behind them…or they may be for burning next summer.

 

20141028-181651.jpg

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