Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Breaking things

Why is it, a year into this place, that stuff is now breaking?  And why all at once?  So far this month it has been the ice maker (2x as the first replacement unit was defective), the pool rover (those things are NOT cheap!), and now one of the water heaters is not heating properly.  Oh, and the propane tank needs topped up.

I know, a bunch of First World problems.  I should shut up and be happy...or not.
At least I remembered we got a home warranty when we bought this place, and water heaters are covered.  AND, it expires tomorrow, so my service call today is covered!

One pup is going in to the vet next week for a dental cleaning and papilloma removal, and another pup has a belly rash.  I am hoping the antibiotic spray I have already on hand, will clear the rash up.  It seemed to respond in January to some triple antibiotic ointment I applied to it.  He just hates the spray and flees the area in terror, poor guy!

At least the garden bales are starting to heat up (a good thing), and should be ready to plant in about a week.  I just need to get some bone meal, wood ash, and a bag of potting soil to get the plants started in the bales.

I think I am going to do several lettuce varieties, a couple tomatoes, green peppers, 1-2 hot peppers, some green beans and snap peas.  Mt. Weather, out back of the shop, will get some watermelon and pumpkin plants, if the kids are interested in growing those.  It ought to be an eventful spring....I'm just hoping the garden is a success.
A random pretty flower picture our oldest Monkey took.  May it brighten your day.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gardening 2017

 Over the winter, we have been clearing out the back treeline on the property.  It was badly overgrown with scrub trees, and a lot of dead wood.

We now have a pretty good area under the big trees cleared out.  If the poison ivy can be killed off on the creek bank, we will plant vinca minor there, and under the trees,  a mix of monkeygrass, moss and hosta, as there is minimal sunlight under the remaining trees.  We are planning on putting a bench out under the trees, for a nice cooler shady spot on hot summer days.

Next has been our garden project.  The permanent plantings have been selected, purchased, and planted now.  We have 2 peach trees, two Santa Rosa plums, and two apricot trees all planted in the sunny but well watered (thank you aerobic septic!) back half of our acre.

 Don't cringe at the thought of using the spray water.  I look at as being frugal.  Especially as it saves on my water bill.

Also in the area of the tree plantings, we are going to put in a straw bale garden.  We already have a half dozen bales nearly ready to plant on, that were used to shelter the bottom of the chicken run from wind this winter.  Straw bale gardening looks simple, and doesn't involve me having 6+ yds of  "topsoil" in to build raised beds.  If you saw the sorry excuse for topsoil around here, you'd understand why the word is in quote marks!
We have also planted a row of 6 southern blueberry bushes.  These are more of a challenge to grow, due to their need for an acidic soil.  I amended the soil with 4cu.ft. of peat moss, compost and added granular sulphur to it.  Then I mulched around each plant with natural cypress mulch.

According to the plant information, these two varieties (Austin and Climax) should grow 6-8' wide and 8-10' tall.  This will make a nice screen on the west side of the pool deck eventually.  They've been in the ground about two weeks now,and they are already starting to bloom.  We might get some blueberries this year, but I am hoping for a good crop next year.    As for the fruit trees, I don't expect any real crops until 2-3 years down the road, or more.  Despite this, one peach tree is blooming like mad this week!  I suppose that means I need to go out and pluck the blooms off if any manage to get pollinated.  I don't need it wasting energy trying to set fruit.  I need it to grow a good root system this year!

I'll do another garden update after we get the straw bale garden up and growing.  Happy planting, my friends!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life must be hard!

Life must be hard here at the casa...  

First, here's Bullet, apparently in doggy jail...
Actually he is just watching me through the pool deck fence.  It's hard work, being on Overwatch, protecting Mom and Dad while they plant fruit trees.  You never know when those evil cats might come around and attack them!

And here is Indy, tired out from a hard day guarding the prime couch space by the fireplace.

I guess life is hard, if you're one of our Ridgebacks!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Dinner on the hoof?

This bad boy was calmly eating weeds in someone's side yard in our neighborhood this afternoon!  Not sure which of the surrounding landowners is missing their Angus bull, but I know where he went!  And no, he did not end up in my freezer, though I did think about it!