Grass, grass and more grass.

Summer is here with a vengeance. It’s suppose to be 93F today. Bleh! While I like heat, that is a bit too much heat, and it won’t help my new grass any.

I know I haven’t blogged in a while about my garden, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. After weed & feeding, putting lime and a layer of 1/2 & 1/2 mix of compost and sand down on the spots that can’t seem to grow grass if it’s life depended on it, we seeded the entire lawn. Then commenced the watching, waiting and endless watering. Of course once we laid the seed, it turned 85F and the rain that never seem to end came in sporadic spurts. Go figure! 😛 After a month and some change, we now have grass in areas that haven’t had grass in a long time. A lot of that had to do with the fir trees. Needles do not help growth of grass. In fact, it can kill it. That and not enough sun. Now that the trees on one side of the house are gone we have lots of sun and a lot less needles.

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Before: This is an area I weeded and meant to seed last year.

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After: Finally seeded, it’s looking a lot better.

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Before: There are dead spots in the yard.

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Dead spots gone!

As you can see, there are still some areas that need to grow. Those are the areas that have a lot of sun and were hard to keep wet when we were working all day. I figure we’ll put seed down this fall and see what happens. Although, as I was mowing the lawn the other day, I realized something. I have added a 1/4 again the grass I once had, so more to mow. Maybe I should have thought this through a bit more….. 😐

The rest of the yard is finally coming under control. It was hard to get out there with all the rain. Although, I did go out in the rain a couple of times. I figured, why not? If I didn’t I’d still be under the weeds.

We just had some of the fir trees limbed up because they were too close to the house, and a couple taken out behind the shed because they were dying. The down side, what was once shaded and so planted for shade is now in the afternoon sun. I can hear the plants cursing me now. 😛

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SUN!! Well, there will be this afternoon.

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There is a Hemlock missing and the other two trees have been limbed up about 10 feet so they are off the roof of the house.

Well, that’s all for now. Summer is just beginning and there is lots more to do.

Have a wonderful day. 🙂

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What’s a Little Rain?

Lovely day today. It’s no secret that it’s been a bit…wet in Western Washington. The whole Pacific Northwest has been either wet, frozen or buried in snow. The one thing we haven’t seen much of is Sun. Yes, Washington State is known for it’s rain, but this year Mother Nature has decided to make up for those three months two summers ago when we had no rain whatsoever. Then there were the days where she didn’t know whether it should rain, snow or sunshine, so she decided to throw it at us all at once and see what we would do. Yeah…. Fun times, fun times.

Yet even with the weather going every which way, Spring has arrived. Trees and bushes are starting to bud out, Crocuses are almost done blooming while the Daffodils and Tulips are getting ready for their turn to shine. We even got up to a blazing 60ÂșF! I told my best friend who lives down in Texas this, and she said she was not going to comment on that. I told her rather drily that no, no she wasn’t. (Again, lives in Texas.)

So Spring is here, and it’s technically the raining season even if it is on steroids. What this means is IF we do get a sunny day it is in the middle of the week when most everyone is working. At least I am. On the rare nice weekend I was so sick with the cold that was circulating in the school I work at that going outside, no matter how nice it was, was not an option. Frankly, getting off the couch was not an option, but I digress. (See Cold From Hell poem.)

This week we managed to squeak in two and a half nice days before the deluge began once again. Early this morning I looked outside to see water pouring out the end of one of the gutters. This tells me that the drain is plugged. I am of the I’ll clean the gutters tomorrow, but when tomorrow finally comes it pouring down rain society. There are a few of us living in this wonderfully green land with lots of pine and fir trees that fill up our cutters with needles. We all probably have the same conversation when we see the tell-tale sign that a gutter is plugged. “Ah, damn.” Which is followed by a deep sigh and “I really don’t want to go out in the rain” whine with a smidgeon of resignation and muttering as we put on our rain gear and head out for our first or second shower of the day. I am here to tell you that rain water in March is COLD!

As I am hauling the ladder around the yard I notice that along with the plants and flowers I actually want in my garden,  the shotgun weed is doing wonderfully. For those who do not know what shotgun weed is, it’s a small leaf weed with pretty little white flowers. All good, until it goes to seed. Then it’s dangerous. Why? Because when a slight breeze or hand touches it, it shoots seeds far and wide. If you let the weed go this long I highly recommend protective eyewear and make sure your mouth is closed while pulling it out. Yes, it’s that bad.

After I finished with the gutters and my hands are nicely numb I think, what the hell. I’m already out here and wet, why not get some of that weeding done that is quickly piling up. An hour later my husband comes home from running an errand and sees me out there. Here is the conversation that follows, me outside in the downpour, he and the dog by the now open window inside where it’s dry.

“What are you doing?” There is a fair amount of disbelief in his voice.

“Weeding,” I respond as if weeding in a downpour is an everyday occurrence.

“You’ll catch cold.”

“I already have a cold.”

“Well, then you’ll make it worse.”

“Possibly. I was already out here cleaning the gutter and wet so I thought, what the hell.”

He’s was not sure how to respond to that, so he shrugs and says “Okay,” and closed the window.

One thing I noticed, now this may not be new to most of you but bear with me, moss is so much easier to scrap up when the ground is saturated with water. Usually it’s rooted deep and is a pain. I pulled moss out of plants that I’ve been struggling with for years. I also found that my new rain coat that I bought at Costco is wonderful! It kept me nice and dry and warm. Now I wouldn’t recommend it for below 40ÂșF, but it did just fine for 46Âș. Much better than being drenched all the way through.

Tomorrow is suppose to be nice. In fact, shortly after I came in and took a shower it decided to stop raining and I did eventually see sun. Maybe I can begin cutting plants back. I heard or was told you should never cut plants in the rain because it gets into the wood from the new wound. We’ll see how it goes. Lots of work still to do.

Have a wonderful evening. 🙂

 

Copyright © 2017 Heidi Barnes

 

Gardens. How quickly they get away from us.

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It’s June already and it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on the garden. That’s not saying haven’t had ideas running around in my head. Recent health issues have been getting in the way. I’m doing okay now, so maybe I can start getting caught up.

Hopefully I can now get back into my yard and do work. At this point with the rain and heat mix parts of it have turned into a jungle. It doesn’t help that said rain has been happening on the weekend, keeping me inside. May need to add a machete to my arsonal of gardening tools.

Spring started in the middle of March, which meant I started weeding and pruning shortly thereafter. Now I have areas that need more attention.

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Where this doesn’t look to bad in the picture, in order to walk down the path you have to sort of fight your way through. There is also a vine maple that needs to be pruned up so we can walk under it without ducking.

The worst is the back. I had it all cleaned out last fall, ready for grass sees. Now, not so much.

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It’s full of forget-me-nots and stinky bob, among other weeds. What is stinky bob? It’s a weed with little pink flowers that look nice among the blue of the forget-me-nots but is very evasive. It’s choking out the meadows so we are suppose to pull it out. As you can see, I’m a little behind.

I’m thinking pulling weeds is on my list for this weekend. I can sit and it’s easy.

Well, that is all for now in the garden. Have a wonderful weekend.

© 2016 Heidi Barnes

So it Begins

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      Armandi Clematis Source: Heidi Barnes

 

Spring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest. Well, actually it sprang… sprung in February. That was when the frogs started croaking the trees started to show signs of life. Now the Roses are almost done leafing out along with the hydrangea. My tree is about to burst into bloom and the rhubarb is growing. All about a month early. The weeds, however, have been doing just fine since it started raining again in September.

Between life and the rain (btw: Washington State is no longer in a drought. Mother Nature fixed that by the end of September. It’s amazing we all haven’t drowned!) I haven’t really had time to go out and work in the yard. I did weed the garden by the shed in November because the amount of shotgun weed that bout to bloom was getting out of control, so it is doing better than the rest of the gardens. About two weeks ago I finally was able to clean up the front gardens but not the lawn. At the time I only had weekends to work outside and the only day it didn’t rain was Saturday so I wasn’t able to finish. When I saw that it was suppose to be nice this weekend and we had nothing planned I knew I had to take the opportunity. The problem was, where do I start?

Like most gardeners, by the times January rolls around I start thinking about what I would like to do this year in the garden. Are there any changes that need to be done, projects that I have been mulling over the last 15 years that I want to tackle? What I did know was I needed to mow what can be in the vaguest sense of the word be called a lawn before it rained again. As I was cleaning the landmines our dog and a few other critters so graciously placed around the yard I realized what my project would be.

Last years drought took a toll on our grass. No rain for three months with 90F pretty much every day made keeping plants alive almost impossible. You just could not keep them watered enough. So something had to go or I would end up with a $500 water bill. No thank you! So the lawn was sacrificed. We weren’t the only ones. Not many lawns survived last summer.

Now to bring it back to life.

My knowledge of lawn care is simple. You mow it twice a week in the spring, maybe once a week to knock down the weeds the end of summer. You kill the moss then weed and feed it at various times in the year. Keep it short in the spring when everything stays wet and keep it longer after July 4th so you don’t have to water it as much. (July 5th is when summer official starts in Washington. Ask anyone who lives here. They will tell you it is true.) Usually the only part of the lawn that does get watered is what is near the flower beds.

Here is what a couple areas look like now.

I have more, but I think you get the idea. Pretty sad. This is mowed. I spend the rest of the day raking storm debris, leftover fall leaves and pine needles. Pine needles are the Bain of my existence. They get EVERYWHERE. Anyways, now the yard looks better, except for the grass. I’m hoping the rain holds off long enough tomorrow that I can go buy some moss/weed and feed and put it on the lawn tomorrow. Crossing fingers and toes.

So aside from maintaining and moving a couple of plants, this is my project this year. As always I may add to it, but we will see how this one goes first.

Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

Heidi

 

 

It Never Ends – Gardening

Winter is upon us. Everything in the garden is asleep. Or at least they are suppose to be. Even though it has been cold here, the weeds are doing just fine. I finally had the chance to do my fall cleaning and ended up weeding. But I digress.

The one thing, at least for me, that is year round is cleaning out the gutters. I love fir, pine and cedar trees. They are beautiful and stay green all year round. I hate their needles. They get everywhere! On one side of our house they are close to the house, so the gutters fill up quite quickly. The way our gutters are set up is they drain down into corrugated tubing that hooks each drain into one tube that then takes the rain water out to the ditch by the street. About a year ago the corner drain clogged up so badly that I had to dig the  tubing out and replace it because all 5ft of it was clogged. It wasn’t easy. That part of the yard was covered in years worth of gravel and is where we store our boat in the summer. So it was pretty compacted.

I now have another drain that is clogged. I was hoping all I had to do was clean out at the base of the drain pipe that goes into the tubing, but no such luck. So today I spent a couple of hours digging. Where this isn’t hard compact dirt, it does have a few obstacles. Like the very thick pad from the old heat-pump, a small privacy fence and the garage side door cement pad. It also has the roots of those damn trees. As of now I have it somewhat dug out. I have yet to find the end where it hooks into the main pipe and it worries me because the tube is going deeper and I am right next to the fence.

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As you can see there are a lot of roots. A couple of big ones run across the top of the tubing (which I swear it’s in there but the dirt keeps covering it up) and I’m hesitant to cut them. The tree I think they are attached to is rather big and I don’t want to compromise it. If it fell on my house it would hurt it. 😩

I have also been strongly reminded by my body that I am no long 20. That digging a trench is not something I can do in a couple of hours. So this is as far as I got today. Tomorrow, if I can move I will go back out and try again. I know I am close to where the connection is. I just want to get this one done and hope that the clog goes no further. Digging out the entire system is not something I really want to do.

As for the other… let’s see, 1,2,3….5, I hope they will wait until summer when it’s warmer outside and I have more time to spend playing in the yard.

Have a safe and Happy New Year. 🙂

 

Heidi

Cave Trolls – Gardening

I have recently discovered I have a cave troll. What is a cave troll you ask? And why is it here and not in Middle Earth where it belongs and there are elves with longbow and dwarves with axes to dispatch them? A cave troll is what I lovingly refer to  moles. Those black little blind rats that dig through your gardens and lawn wreaking havoc.

Over the summer we had… well, no rain. So the trolls  were either digging deep or decided there were not enough grubs in my yard to waste their time. Now that the rain has returned in buckets, so have the cave trolls. Nasty little buggers that evade my well place traps with the ease of a nimble mosquito evading a fly swatter.

What I need to do is go out and tramp down the hills and valleys so I can see where the little buggers are burrowing now. It seems they have been working hard for some time. That is what I get for paying more attention to the inside than the outside. (We are doing a little remodeling, which a whole different story.)

So the war on the slugs has ended and the war on cave trolls has begun. I thought winter meant time off from playing in the dirt so I would be ready for next year. Apparently not.

2015 Heidi Barnes

Garden update #3

Yes, it’s been a while since I have updated my gardening posts. That does not mean we have been idle! Just busy with real life. Like, the end of school. It’s now out for summer so I will have more time to do gardening and editing (which I need to get busy with!) and work on my online presence that has been almost nonexistent. Also some big birthday milestones. Hubby is now 50 and my youngest is 21. (Gah!) Also have had some graduation parties in there. The yardwork is getting done, just not in a timely manner. lol

As you probably have noticed I didn’t not put ‘pathway update’ because I’ve also been working on the rest of the backyard. Here are a few before and after pictures. I wish they would go side by side, but putting the caption on them seems to not allow that.

Before

Before

 

After

After

Before

Before

Middle

Middle

 

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Cleaner

After

After

I’m hoping the Barberry survives. It’s late in the season to be moving plants and this one was pretty big. I had to have my son help hold it up why I put the dirt around the roots. I tried to do it by myself and quickly/painfully realized that was not going to work. 😛

The grass is slowly coming in. I don’t think we will use the type of seed we did again. It sort of works like hydro-seeding in that it has peat moss in it. You lay the seed, water it and it sort of explodes with the peat moss. It’s the best way I can describe it. It also seemed to be too compact so didn’t come in as quickly as the regular see with fertilizer we used.

Here are some pictures I took this morning of the pathway and the garden behind the patio. We are not done with the backyard yet, but I need to now concentrate on the front because it is looking rather neglected and that is what everyone sees.

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Well, I should be getting back outside before it gets too hot. It’s suppose to be 100F this weekend and that is not something I want to work outside in :S It’s so weird. My friends in Texas are underwater and we haven’t had a good rain for three months so are bone dry!

Have a great week! 🙂

 

Update on Pathway Project #2

Good morning everyone.

I am sitting out on my deck on a Sunday morning (really too early for the amount of sleep I got last night, which was none) enjoying a cup of coffee and listening to the morning birds. It is a bit chilly out here, but the last few days of 75F and above have helped make it not too bad. Doesn’t mean I don’t have a sweater and slippers on though.

I’m also enjoying the progress we’ve made on the pathway. Not only is it done, but the sod around it has been moved and compost put in.

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We’ve also put in a do it yourself sprinkler system. I’ve been slowly doing that around the yard trying to make my watering a bit easier. Out in the garden by the shed is done as is along the back of the house. I didn’t get around the house buried and now I need to fix some of the joints because they have cracked. So that will be another project that I need to work on soon.

After we finished with the first load of compost (the entire yard is in need of it. It’s been years since the last time I put some down) Hubby and I went to Home Depot to looked at their plants. We found a few to start with,

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but I won’t put them in until we take down the Silk Tree that hasn’t been doing well. Something got to it and it started splitting at the joint.

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So last year Hubby and my youngest son got the chainsaw out and took the heaviest part off. It’s something he’s been wanting to do for a long time and I fought him on it. When my mom suggested that it was probably the best thing to do for the tree, five minutes after she left and I was down the street walking the dog the chainsaw roared and the tree was in half.

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There is a story with this tree that has to do with my niece, but I will save that  for another day because it’s painful and I don’t want to ruin your morning. Suffice to say, taking the tree down was no easy decision for me. However, after looking at it all winter I decided it had to come down the rest of the way and I’m okay with the decision. I’m hoping that the trunk is not too rotted inside so my dad can make a vase or a small bowl out of it. I’ll have to show you his work sometime. For a what started out as a retirement hobby, he’s pretty damn good at it. But I digress.

So today the Silk Tree comes down and so does a Blue Spruce that is not doing well. That will open up a part of the yard that has been in deep shade for a long time, so I will have more options for plants and also for making that particular garden smaller. This is part of why I didn’t sleep well last night. You know how pruning goes.  Starting is not so hard. It’s the stopping that’s the… well you know. 😉 And now that I have help there are lot of projects that I’ve been wanting to do that involves cutting things down and rearranging. (Just need too tell hubby. (he he he) We also need to hit a better bigger nursery and pick up some more plants. Planning all that out kept me up all night. Going to be a long but hopefully productive day.

Have a wonderful day. 🙂