Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Around the Yard

The latest photo-tour--

The viburnum has started blooming:

Viburnum in Bloom

Not sure if this is the "final look" of the bloom or if more of the interior buds will eventually open up, too. Even if this is it, I think we're happy with it. We like the texture of the leaves, and as they are, the blooms remind me of very small lacecap hydrangeas.

Clematis


Clematis


This spring, the two clematis vines on our fence have been the best I've seen them in the two or three years since planting. If we re-do part of our fence, they'll have to be removed from the old fence. I wonder how they'll handle that...

The azaleas are blooming:

Azalea

Azaleas

Some of the things we planted in the past few weeks are growing, such as the Creeping Jenny:

Creeping Jenny and Polka-Dot Plant

I know marigolds are supposed to be extremely easy, but I'm still impressed with how well the seeds I gathered last year are doing! I can't wait to see them bloom!

Marigolds

Here are a couple (one in the front/right and another in the background to the left) of "new" hydrangeas recently added to the yard.  Months ago, I layered a couple of low branches of our existing hydrangea, and these are two resultant new plants. I hope they'll survive! I didn't realize I should've staked the branches to help them grow upright until it was too late, but I'm sure that if they live, they'll sort that out on their own... eventually.

Hydrangeas

Our old raised vegetable bed:
Broccoli in the background. Donald has since planted peas along the fenced portion and put in a couple of hills for the crook-neck squash and zucchini seeds.

Raised Vegetable Beds

Our new raised vegetable bed:
(We built this bed using materials already on hand-- cinder blocks that had been all but forgotten in their stack out in the woods.  They're not the most beautiful material, but if they work, we'll be satisfied.  They have a sort of utilitarian appeal, I guess. (g))

Tomatoes in the front, then some bell peppers. Since this photo was taken, Donald planted okra seeds in the empty section in the foreground and lettuce, radish, and Swiss chard seed in the back. Oh, and there are things planted in some of the holes of the blocks, too, as you can see. Onions, bunching onions, chives, and dill, so far. (The love affair with chives continues.  Some of these are survivors from last year, but we also bought another little pot that we divided into four more bunches.)

Raised Vegetable Beds

And finally, here's the trellis we built for the passionflower vine. It still needs a final coat of paint before we can plant the vine, but that won't take long. We're planning to use the pavers from the path to the main gate to make a little mini-patio between this trellis and the back porch. (The paver path will be gravel, instead, if all goes according to plan.)

Trellis, Before Planting

That concludes this official garden update.  ;o)

Bad Puppy!

Luna broke out of "her room" (i.e. the dining room, which we've temporarily stripped of most furniture and sectioned off from the rest of the house) last night and had herself a good ol' time.  It's not the first time this has happened, but it's the first time it's happened that Trixie didn't let us know. Also, it's the first time that Luna noticed my yarn, apparently.

This morning, I was greeted by this mess:

Luna's Yarn Mess

And this was after Donald tidied things up, he says.  (He happened to be the first one up today and wanted to soften the blow.)

Ugh.

At least it was only acrylic yarn.  It could've been worse.  There were finished squares she could have chewed into bits (not to mention furniture, walls, cables, etc.), and there's a ball of laceweight on the coffee table that she probably could have gotten, if she'd been determined.  Still, not the sort of thing to fill your heart with joy.


I ended up cutting a couple of times to make the untangling easier, so it's in a few balls instead of one nice skein-- but it's all salvaged and ready for crocheting.

Phew.
There's a saying that comes to mind right about now... Ah, yes: "You're lucky you're cute, dog."

Maybe it's time to start putting her in her crate at night... If not, I will at least be stowing all yarn well out of reach!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

We've Been...

Planting things...

Ageratum

Creeping Jenny

Trying to figure out exactly where we want to plant a few more things...

Knockout Rose


Building and painting a trellis for the passionflower (and some ivy, not pictured)...

Passionflower

Passionflower

Wondering what the viburnum will look like when it blooms... (No Latin name on the tag; apparently it is an "Old Fashion Snowball"-- not "old-fashioned", mind you-- but that seems to be a pretty generic name for viburnum.)

Viburnum

Taking note of things that still need to be done (such as touch-up re-painting our covered patio)...

Peeling Paint

...And enjoying flowers already booming, such as the first clematis:

Clematis

Also:
--Weeding (but not nearly enough of it)
--Watching "our" two hummingbirds
--Listening to a mockingbird
--Transplanting a few things (Tiger lilies, etc.)
--Battling ants that have moved into our raised beds
--Watering new plants (but not fertilizing yet...)
--Planning to plant more seeds in the raised (vegetable) beds
--Giving another packet of morning glory seeds a try, since the first ones didn't make it
--Making DECISIONS regarding the garage, part of the existing fence, and future gravel paths
--Sweating outside (UGH, hot already!)
--Counting the wasps and carpenter bees with mounting annoyance and dread
--Trying to keep Luna from eating every flower within reach
--And so on!

Next time, maybe photos of the raised beds. It's fun to see the progress over the course of a season, so we need a few early-season shots... :o)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Amazing Terrarium

"Sealed terrarium still going strong after 40 years."
(There's a photo of the terrarium and its owner.)

I remember Granny L. had a large terrarium when I was a kid...  Those huge glass bottles are so interesting, all on their own-- but to think that a plant can live in one, sealed up, for forty years... It's just amazing!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ice Storm & a PUPPY!!!

We did get some "wintry precipitation" a couple of weeks ago.  Mostly in the form of ice.  It was an unusual experience for this area-- and that's probably a good thing!  (g)  Most places that could remain closed for a couple of days did so, and fortunately for us, Donald was able to work from home. 

Photos:

Our roof was coated in white:

Winter Storm - January 2014


Some impressive icicles formed, here and there!

Winter Storm - January 2014


We made sure the feeder was stocked with seed, and we put up a (temporary) makeshift "platform"-style feeder, too-- and scattered some seed on the ground around it.  There were lots of birds visiting.  Mostly sparrows, but also some finches, a couple pairs of cardinals, and a couple of blue jays. 

Winter Storm - January 2014


The birds appreciated the extra food.  (Our local birds aren't used to such prolonged cold, of course.)  --And we enjoyed watching them throughout the day(s).  :o)

Winter Storm - January 2014


More icicles-- on a leatherleaf mahonia, this time:

Winter Storm - January 2014


Another view of the front yard:

Winter Storm - January 2014


(There are more photos of the ice on our Flickr photostream.)

Very soon after the ice melted here, Donald found an ad for Eskie puppies near Birmingham (Bessemer).  We've been thinking about getting an Eskie pup for a while, but they're rare around here, and months and months of keeping an eye on the ads had yielded nothing-- so we decided to pounce on this opportunity right away.  (We also arranged to pick out a male puppy for Granny L., because she's also been looking.) 

Tangent:  We saw some ice and/or snow on the drive up (mostly just on the shaded slopes), and there was still sand/soil on many bridges (put there to help during the icing). 

So here's our little snowflake, the day after she blew in from the north. ;o)

Eskie Puppy


We named her Luna. 

She was born on December 19th, and her hobbies include biting fingers, toes, ears, hair, etc. (with varying degrees of force), chasing toys, chewing toys (fabric preferred, at the moment), chasing Trixie (who would really rather not be chased, thankyouverymuch), running around the yard, pulling at grass and weeds, flopping down on this one particular cushy, grassy spot, growling and yapping when thwarted, and generally being a ball of attitude and energy.  Oh, and napping. 

Here are a couple more photos, taken a few days later:

Luna

Luna

We need to take more photos, because she's already grown a lot!