primsong: (jo keys)
We had our last graduation event for my youngest's school chums, the ones who were Freshmen when she was a Senior so we worked with them in drama, etc. and got to know them. End of an era with her school in a way as most of the amazing older teachers she had that were so influential are all retiring as well now. Good people, the kind that pour their lives into those kids and it really shows, the kind the kids still talk about when they are old themselves.

The roses are all so tall and abundant this year! My yard is going crazy with blooming things so I cut back two big bouquets of miniature roses to give away to people at church this morning. Now I've dragged out my dehydrator and loaded it up with rose petals for a friend who adds them to her homemade soaps, the house smells heavenly with drying roses.

Hoping all is well for everyone as we all wade into another summer together.
primsong: (flower)
Spring brings me a learning curve adventure I'm kind of enjoying - My little greenhouse has been pretty neglected, I've used it but really done very little in the way of maintenance in the past 12+ years so I'm rolling up my sleeves and giving fixing it a whirl.   Pulled off big mats of moss (inside and out), scrubbed moss off windows (inside and out), scraped lichen off (the kind that looks like it has miniature Shrek ears), scraped old paint off, chipped away old caulking and ripped out whole pieces of spongy wood that were too rotten to clean up.   Whew!

Now I get to re-caulk the loose and/or broken windows before figuring out how to fix the rotten siding - most of it is okay, but the shadiest side is beyond help, it was at the point I could poke holes right through it and if I pulled it up there were literally earthworms having a party in there because the inside of the boards had composted.  Whoo-hoo, wormies!  But not IN the wall of the greenhouse, thanks!  I'm going to try piecing a couple of the cracked windows together with some clear caulking, hope it works.

Habitat for Humanity yielded super cheap paint for the door, a can of wood preservative for when I find the new siding and some pieces of wood that fit a couple of the needs for only a couple bucks more.  Love that place.  This is going to take a while, but it'll be SO nice when it's done.
primsong: (rain tree)
I've been reading an interesting book on how various plants were first introduced to North America and how they became established, hybridized, etc. over time.  Under the entry on weeping willows I was enchanted to find the first were brought to the US by an admirer of Alexander Pope, an Anglican clergyman, philosopher and author named Samuel Johnson.  Enamoured with the tree, he was gifted with cuttings from Pope's weeping willow by his house along the Thames.  He planted these at his home in Stratford, Connecticut along the Housatonic River.  They grew well and he handed out cuttings as gifts to those who admired this graceful, foreign tree with its poetic associations.  It is believed all of the early weeping willows in America came from Alexander Pope's tree.  In the later 1700s there is record of some being brought as nursery stock from England, but the oldest belong to poets.

It made me think of how a friend once sent me an acorn from the old oak in Sherwood Forest and how I treasured that little piece of legend.  Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to plant an arboretum of trees associated just with poets and poetic ballads?
primsong: (grog)
Picked up a power rake this morning, I've been killing weeds and sharp invasive grasses out there since spring and the big lawn (we have three lawns, bleah!) is really looking like Mother Earth has mange.   Running it to de-thatch today, what a crazy mess of dead moss and grasses piling up already, mounds and mounds - we're making hay while the sun shines!  Really hard to do with our uneven and neglected turf, my son managed half of it so far, I think we'll all have to take turns.  Still, I just keep thinking how nice the lawn (might) look this next spring, and how I won't have to worry about having cuts on my feet from the marsh grasses anymore. 

Ugh. I love this house, but I'm getting pretty tired of taking care of this much land - whenever we move, I'll definitely be looking for something that is either smaller or mostly a wild woodlot or something. 
primsong: (fireplace)
Yay! I landed a nice fire pit online when the Labor Day sales were going by and it arrived this past week.  It's a 'heat wave' which is a portable fire pit with wheels and a top lid, something very important here where the continually falling fir needles and rain are an issue.  Also, if we move I can take it with me that way.

Now that they are unfortunately made in China they do take some extra tweaking - I replaced the cheap hollow plastic wheels with nice steel ones (reviewers said the wheels MELT), and sprayed it with 2 coats of high-heat bbq paint (otherwise it will rust away, apparently).  Drilled drainage holes in the bottom also (this is Oregon here...) and got a cover for it.  Added L brackets to raise the cooking grill to a level it can actually be used, though I don't really plan to use it for cooking, as otherwise the grill would sit right on the firewood.

Then there's where to put it - Spent a couple days leveling a nice space in the yard with my son's help and placed pavers to make a mini patio for it to sit on. Got paver sand packed between the pavers. Whew! 

Been a bit of work, but now it's ready to go - once the current batch of rain goes by - maybe have a nice fire to sit around in a couple days.  I've always wanted one of these, so happy to actually get one. Ah, ambiance and camp fire smoke!  Marshmallow roast, anyone?   ^_^
primsong: (mouse gape)
Asked a friend if she'd like some apples.  She said "Yes! I'd like 10 please.  If you have enough."
Look up at my Apples, current Apple Level 200 trees.
"Right. Ten apples."

apple plumes

primsong: (squirrel)
Went out to set a sprinkler in my flower bed and found a squirrel laying there in the hot sun. I thought it was dead and went to get a paper towel to transport the body with but when I came back it flailed around weakly and flipped over. "Oh no, you're not dead...yet."

Got a flat shovel and used it as a squirrel stretcher to take the unresisting patient to a shady spot under the vine maples, screened it off with a small bench tipped over to make a little hospice courtyard where my old cat ambling by wouldn't immediately see it. It lay there looking miserable and hot. Felt very helpless and inept as a nurse.

I dribbled a little water from the nearby birdbath from my fingertips and the squirrel eagerly took in every drop I managed to land near her mouth, little pink tongue flicking in and out. She sucked the water that had fallen on her foreleg. Fetching a dropper of clean water, I came back and she drank from the dropper desperately, then fell back and rearranged her paws to make a pillow under her head, half closing her eyes. I made a loose dome of dry grasses over her to conceal and comfort then left her there to rest with a blueberry and a few crumbles of nuts near her nose.

I presumed it was a squirrel hospice rather than a hospital. My Pi-cat came by and just sat on the edge of the bench and idly watched for a while then wandered off - glad she's not as young as she once was, she used to catch and eat them. Later on I went to presumably gather the body, but found the squirrel had gone! No sign of violence, she simply gathered her wits and slipped away.

It's a small thing, but I am grateful for small life.
primsong: (pears)
One thing about living where I do is the summer is absolutely filled with berries. We could rename it Berryland and it wouldn't be far from the truth!

Picked some strawberries, blueberries are coming in - there's kotata, boysen, marion and tay berries ready to go as well as raspberries in both red and golden. Yum yum. My childhood memories of picking berries and being paid for by the flat are shared by many here.

*squirts whipped cream on blueberry and banana pie*

An artist friend was assigned painting a picture of what summer is to her. She painted a blue sky literally raining berries.

My apple and plum trees are absolutely loaded with fruit for later on as well, hopefully they won't get so fried that they start dropping the green ones because I want to make apple butter this year.
primsong: (starry sky)
The Habitat for Humanity "re-store" had paint at half-off their already ridiculously cheap prices so I went to see if there might be a decent color for my old garden benches. I was thinking something mossy looking originally, so if they got scroungy out there it wouldn't show up but then - WOO! A huge 5 gallon bucket of the most amazing blue came by and I couldn't pass it up. Here's what I spent the last couple days on, I'm so jazzed with the result!

blue benches!

Color pop time!
primsong: (rain tree)
Just came in from quite some time grubbing around in my muddy yard in between rain clouds. There is a nice sense of accomplishment seeing the mounds I built from the roots of my fallen enemies outside.  I like how you can yank the entire root out, schlorping them like pale, twisted carrots from the muck at this time of year, and I finally conquered one of the Grandfather of Grandfather Dandelions whose root was too big and deep to get in previous years.

*insert triumphant cackling as lightning flashes behind a silhouetted hand, clutching helpless roots as the mud drips from the tip of the trowel*
primsong: (rainbow)
Snipped some early daffodils for our table along with a few giant snowdrops...the morning sun was coming in to hit them so nicely, thought I'd share a little of this cheery spring color with all of you:

Daffodil vase
:-)
primsong: (poop)
Ah the "joys" of home ownership - Our rather large back yard has progressively gotten so lumpity bumpity that I went and rented a lawn roller for the day as we have a rare break in the rain til tomorrow.  Dang that thing is heavy - I'm taking a break after getting about a third of it done, my son gets a turn at the plow for the next hour, bless him.  Found out I couldn't listen to fast music or I went too fast and didn't let it squish out all the little mud-bumps. Probably been 30 years since anyone tried to flatten it at all.

Next up will be killing all the clumps of sharp marsh grass that have made their way in - it's going to look awful this year, but by next round should be much improved.
primsong: (panda bounce)
Heading down my little garden path to get to my sprinkler this morning I found a moderately largish striped spider had spun a rather lovely web right across the path.  I apologetically unhooked one side of it and swung it around to the rose bush it was anchored on there. The spider rode along and scrambled up to a leaf to regard the wreckage and (it seemed to me) to look at me with a bit of reproach. 

"Sorry," I said - then spotted among the web bits on the opposite side a little bundle that I realized was a honeybee, all neatly wrapped up.  I carefully disentangled the bundle and brought it over to the watching spider, who adjusted her feet on the rose leaf then half sat up to delicately take it from me.  She hugged it to her like a teddy thought was lost forever.

"Have a nice lunch," I said. "Honey flavored. I'm sure you worked hard for it."
primsong: (harvest)
Doing a bit of raking in the yard and discovered my apple trees are ALREADY dropping ripe apples... in July! My initial reaction was "noooooooooo!" I am so NOT ready to have to deal with apples again, we haven't even used up the ones in the freezer from last fall.

Oh well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em (or consume 'em).

Made three apple-blueberry pies with brandy this afternoon to kick off the early apple consumption for this year, plenty more where those came from.
primsong: (dori)
Went out to my little greenhouse to fetch a pot, opened the door only to find a frantic Mama robin bouncing around inside. Looked to the side where one glass panel is missing and the grapes outside are trying to migrate into the interior and sure enough - nestled into the grape vines is a robin's nest with three wee robins looking back at me, holding completely still - one was even caught with his mouth still open.

"Don't worry, Mama, I won't hurt your babies. They're beautiful," I murmured and backed out.

I knew there were some robins nesting somewhere around here because they're in the birdbath all the time. Now I know where!


Robin
primsong: Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone (jester get it)
For those who wondered how I could possibly want to kill something as pretty as bluebells.....This is how they show up in my yard -

Bluebell Invasion

Thick as grass - they choke all the other plants in a tide of Pretty, like some kind of crazy Fluffy Unicorn Invasion -

Even MOAR bluebells

Though at least they aren't spiny, stinky or sticky, I'll grant them that. I can go mow them down and their only way of exacting revenge on me is simply to keep coming back. Forever.

Blooobells

May. 28th, 2015 10:28 am
primsong: (grog)
I am, once again, having to grub out a jillion gazillion zagillion bluebells from my yard. I spread out mounds of them to dry into bluebell-hay in the sun so they'll shrink enough for my yard-debris can, if they're composted they tenaciously still sprout bluebells.

The only way to get rid of them is to dig them up - an impossibility as I'd have to remove the top foot of dirt on my entire yard. They're pretty, but I swear my next house, whenever that happens, will be a Bluebell-Free Zone.

*goes back to grubbing*
primsong: (columbine)
It never ceases to amaze me how many volunteer baby trees I have popping up in my yard every year - I swear I just went around and "chopped down" (with clippers) enough fir, hemlock, ash, laurel, oak, madrone, maple, cherry and apple trees to fill out a small farm. At least the peanuts the squirrels plant don't sprout. Oy.

One volunteer I did allow to live 10+ years ago is now a huge, graceful cotoneaster, I spent the rest of the morning trimming it up so we can go beneath it like a tree fort thing. No one ever outgrows forts. I'm planning on making one out of the grapevines as they grow so the two little kids next door will have a grape cave to play in this summer.
primsong: (rain tree)
The October rains have officially arrived here, right on time - I'm bringing in my outdoor cushions to dry and store, hung up the wooden windchimes back in the laundry room where they winter among hanging basketry and am going out with scissors to whack my cherry tomato plants.  Anything that isn't actively ripening an actual tomato at this point goes over the edge of the balcony, no more time for messing around with mere greenery here! 

We're planning for our annual Trunk-or-Treat again, doing a bathtub theme with white balloons in the back of the car for bubbles and a shower curtain, rubber duckies, etc. I'll be in a fluffy bathrobe with a towel on my head to warm my bald pate, doling candies out from a little baby's bathing bin.  At least that's the plan!  It'll be raining, I expect.
primsong: (dori)
Well, I had my second round of chemo this morning, so that's half of it done (not counting the next three weeks of recovery before the next).  They really go out of their way to help set you at ease, a big suite of oversized green leather recliners, warmed blankets, snacks and drinks - I just get 'plugged in' with my drip and sit and read books, occasionally flagging a nurse to say "May I have a cocoa?"  Sunny windows look out on nice landscaping and beyond the trees the cars going by and they have a bookcase full of books and magazines and a table with an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. 

My hair is definitely beyond presentable, so I'm into my hat collection in earnest.  I have a great little ruffled calico 'muffin warmer' cap I can use for sleeping, it's adorable.

I feel fine now, but I found out the last time that the 'crash' comes a couple days later so I'm running around trying to get all my yard watered before the heat of this weekend arrives.  We sure could use some rain.  The parakeets (all five of them) are having a grand time out on the sunny deck and the plums and cherry tomatoes are coming in like gangbusters. Hoping all is well with everyone!

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