Tuesday, September 25

Poison Ivy

I should have known better when I pulled out all those weedy things along the edge of our lawn. -- I saw the poison ivy! I don't know why I thought I'd be exempt from getting it this time.

It is in little patches all over my body. Tonight I can't sleep on account of the intense itching. So I got up and scratched the blebs open, then bathed them in alcohol. (I much prefer pain to itching.) And now I am trying out some charcoal poltices to the worst areas. We'll see how it works. I don't care if I have some natural "tattoos" at present. I should think it will grow out in time. ???


Friday, September 21

Sandbox and Other Things

We finally completed the sandbox, dug up the clay ground for the box to sit down in, and filled it with sand (with "help" from the kiddos). The kiddos, of course, are thrilled with it.

We've spent a lot of energy collecting rocks to go around our flowerbeds, and I am not so pleased with the results of this fieldstone:

as I am with these rocks.

We've hauled these rocks, a few at a time, out of a dry creekbed while hiking a local trail. The finished look with these rocks is so much more "neat" and it's definitely easier to mow around! So, one by one, we'll complete the bed and the irregularly-shaped fieldstones will be moved to a different location, probably around the shed in the back yard. (That's a future project. The shed is dark brown metal and UGLY. I want to camoflage it with some sunflowers -- anything to distract the eye from the shed!)

Yesterday I trimmed the boxwoods in front of our porch, and when done, I decided I still felt like trimming. (Odd, I know.) So I stretched the power cord across the yard, and "went to" the underbrush that is encroaching our lawn. I have hated how claustrophobic all this underbrush makes me feel, but aside from using a machete, wasn't sure what to do about it. But I found an electric bush trimmer does a fabulous job! The only thing it couldn't cut was the thicker branches, of course, so I'll have to break out the machete for those. So many thorny vines (that gave no benefit like the berry bushes I thought they were) and honesuckle were all tangled up. I got pretty torn up getting out what I did, and there is still so much more to pull out. I was amazed with all the garbage I uncovered, too. I think the people who lived here before us did not utilize the garbage facilities, as I found half - half - a kitchen bowl; one yellow rubber shoe; various plastic toys; numerous cement 'things' (don't know what); and some non-describt, twisted-up, extremely rusty pole-type structure. So, in clearing up brush I found a whole lot more work to do. Lucky me!

Wednesday, September 12

Cottage Garden 11

Today was gorgeous! It felt today like the first day of real autumn, and it was wonderful! I never knew I felt so fondly of autumn till after this sweltering, dry summer we've just been through. And hopefully it is "been through", and not just a tease.

I worked at enlarging the garden some more. (And I actually enjoyed it, rather than becoming ornery because I was so hot.) I also pulled out a wickedly large-rooted old rose bush. I find rose bushes to be beautiful, but I don't have the patience to grow them. (I would love to train a climber, but I'll have to wait for Heaven for that. By the way, my house in Heaven will have vines of all different sorts for the walls, with flowers peeking out all over them.) The rose bush was here when we bought the house, and it's plunked in the oddest spot. It was loaded with June bugs this summer, and if I had one bud that wasn't eaten before it opened, it would have been worth writing about. But they all were chewed up. Then today I saw snail shells all over the base of the plant, and that did it for me. So with help from David, we rocked the root ball out of there. It was one tough plant!

Over the next few days, I hope to finish enlarging the bed, lay the border of rocks (as many rocks as we've collected thus far, anyway), and get some poor bedraggled plants in that have been sitting around here awaiting transplanting for ages into the ground. If they survive, I'll know I bought a great specimen!

Sunday, September 2

Cottage Garden 10

The weather is finally giving us a break! When I came in at noon today from working in the garden, it was only 86 degrees! I think that would be a record low for us of late.

So, today I worked in the bed on the right of the house. Pulled out all the tomatoes, some of the zinnias that were just flopping all over the place, and a lot of weeds. I hacked out more grass to grow the bed some more, too. Although what's left is tall and gangly, thus making the bed look lopsided in places, it looks much better than it did!

The tomatoes were again loaded with large, juicy cutworms. Our neighbors recently put in a chicken coop, and the chicks and guinea hens are running around in there like they've lived there forever. I had a hunch they might be interested in the cutworms, so took them down, and I was right: the worms never touched the ground. There sure were a lot of fights in the coop, though! I am just happy to have found some useful end to the worms!

Now that the beds are somewhat cleaned out, I can think about the plants that should be arriving from Bluestone Perennials, and about the few that are still in their pots, struggling on my back porch to stay alive. I'm looking forward to this time next year, when I hope to have a true flowerbed that is worth looking at. Maybe next year it will rain, too? (That would help!)