Thursday, January 23, 2020

Doesn't feel like winter

The ground is barely frozen, and probably won't stay that way. This means the dogs are always bringing in dirt from the backyard. We spread straw around the worst areas, but there is still mud to be found. Fortunately, a friend gave me her Roomba (it didn't work well in her house). Right now, it isn't saving me much time as I tend to keep an eye on it. It's initial inefficiency is getting better, though, and I'm learning from others how best to take advantage of it. Now I need something that will dust and clean bathrooms.

I repotted the ivy houseplants. One of my potted plant tricks is to line the bottom of the pots with coffee filters. Water can seep through but not soil. The ivy is already showing new growth, so they must be happy. Or happy enough.

There are new blue flags around the neighborhood, marking where water lines and such are located. Since the ground is not frozen, I wonder if the contractors will begin to work on the drainage project early. Like most infrastructure improvements, it will be a pain to live through but I'll be glad when it is done... if it achieves its goal of improving the drainage here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The end is in sight... maybe

I've posted before about how my front yard turns into a lake after a heavy rain and/or heavy snow melt and/or the ground is frozen and/or saturated. Last Saturday was no exception. Since the city water engineers asked me to report when the flooding occurs, I did that. They actually sent someone out to take photos and tell me they would not be installing a pump. My garage has a floor drain and my crawl shows no signs of ever being wet, so I was okay with that. However, my neighbor across the street set up an old pool pump he had, to send some of the water to another storm drain. That probably helped keep the rising waters from my garage.

Meanwhile, the city council okayed the contract for fixing the drainage issues in my addition, work to begin this spring. They don't plan to tear up my yard (thank goodness! I have a lot of shrubs planted in the utility easement), but the swale out front by the street will be deepened. Elsewhere, the storm water will be redirected, hopefully away from my house. We'll see how successful they are.

Indoors, my new houseplants are root bound. Since I don't believe in potting up unless it is absolutely necessary, I plan to trim the roots, refresh the soil, and stick the newbies right back in their old pots. Once I feel comfortable hobbling around my messy garage, that is. I overdid the exercise last Friday, which resulted in a bit of a setback re recovery from my hip surgery. I want to be completely healed RIGHT NOW!

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Houseplant hunting frustration

In a previous lifetime, I tried to be a houseplant person. This was the time of spider plants and aloe vera and rubber trees and wandering Jew (not a very PC name) and Boston fern. I do have a few tropicals, some of which actually thrive despite my neglect. Maybe because I missed out on gardening last summer I am feeling the urge for some fresh foliage around the house.

I had this giant, sad looking mother-in-law tongue plant that I kept planning to divide and repot. It just kept looking worse and worse, until I decided to just chuck it and start over. I did a little research regarding different varieties of Sansevieria trifasciata, hoping to find one just as erect but not quite so tall. Well, lotsa luck with that.

For one thing, I am not sure where one buys houseplants anymore. They used to be so ubiquitous. I knew both Lowe's and the Home Depot have some, so we started there. The selection was rather slim, but my primary complaint was the labeling, or lack thereof. As a gardener, I found the dearth of information very odd, and the information that was supplied was incomplete and/or questionable.

In the end, I purchased a couple of plants that were simply labeled "Foliage". Their web site Wild Interiors was not much help, either. I think I bought Hedera Ivy. Maybe. The plants are pretty and (right now) quite compact. They will get indirect light. We'll see whether they thrive.

Monday, December 30, 2019

It's been a while

Hello from the land of post-surgery! Two weeks ago, I received a shiny new hip. I'm still in recovery mode, but doing better everyday. Toward the end, I was feeling quite desperate to get the whole thing over with. I don't know how people with chronic pain deal with it, day after day.

I'm a ways away from doing any yard work. There isn't much to do besides clean up. I'm mentally making plans for next year, when I can actually do something. I will continue downsizing, for one thing. I'm also abandoning the "I'll take one of everything" approach to plant selection, going for larger displays of fewer plants.

Last night I awoke to loud rainfall. I couldn't help but wonder, What if that were SNOW?!? Unlike many others, I like a good, snowy winter, something that doesn't happen very much around here, especially in recent years. One can only hope.

May your dreams be full of springtime. Happy New Year!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Last mow, first snow

I had almost talked myself into waiting until today to pick up dog poop and mow leaves. The winter weather advisory changed my mind. Yesterday was a nice fall day, today a winter wonderland.


After yesterday's chores, I did hobble about a bit, camera in hand. I'm glad I captured this silver grass in its upright position; today it is severely slumped over.


This is the trunk of one of my redbud trees. I assume the damage was caused by the extremely wet spring we had and hope that the tree will recover. This one is next to the deck and quite useful shadewise.


The common milkweed pods are exploding. I'm contemplating just letting it take over one corner of the yard. I didn't notice very many monarchs this summer, but then I wasn't out and about in the yard much.


I am very impressed with how rubust my Triumph elm is. Once the leaves dropped, a nest appeared. I hope this tree continues to thrive.


The still tiny Prairie Fire crabapple insists on fruiting. First year sleep, second year creep, third (next) year leap - I hope. The Perfect Purple crab in the front yard isn't looking very robust, so I'm hoping it takes off soon, too.


Some shrubs still have fruit on them while others have been stripped bare already. The hawthorn tree in the front yard is loaded with orange berries; the robins will find them in late winter. Last year they did not eat all of them, so I plan to harvest some for dyeing yarn.

My SO came over Saturday and cleaned out the poison ivy patch under the gold mop. I've sprayed the poison ivy several times and it looks like it is finally finished off. May it never return!

Sunday, November 03, 2019

43 more days

I am counting down the days until my hip replacement surgery. Time can't pass fast enough! I am keeping up with the mowing, and mowing leaves. We finally had a hard freeze, so hopefully I can put the Toro away soon. A little bit of yard cleanup has occurred - very little, enough to allow the trick-or-treaters to reach the front porch - otherwise, it is on hold. Even though I fret about the state of my backyard, I have to admit I kind of like how wild it looks, as though I live on the edge of a woodland instead of in suburbia.

At some point, pokeweed became established in my yard. I pick some of the berries (even though they are not a good source for dyeing) and leave plenty for the robins and bluebirds.


And one starling.


I can watch the avian acrobatics from the living room but it is not a great place to take photos. Plus the birds seem to become camera shy once I pick up the Olympus. I am rearranging some rooms in my house - turning the fiber studio into a den (TV, desk, exercise equipment), a bedroom into the fiber studio - so hope to view more wildlife from inside this winter. It's time to plug in the bird bath!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Will summer ever end?!?

This is not a normal autumn for this part of Indiana. In the past, we could count on cool, rainy weather, with a brief respite in October. Instead, summer just lingers on. I like changing seasons - when is this one going to change?!?

After listening to an association member complain about his neighbor's yard, I decided I should at least make an effort in mine, before someone calls neighborhood code enforcement. I hobbled around yesterday, trimming the front yard, a few days ago pulled some weeds. I can't wait to get my hip replaced!

Yellow Bear, Spilosoma virginica (I think)

While weeding, I came across the above fuzzy yellow caterpillar. Today I saw bluebirds around the empty bird feeders. This summer I am a bad yardener. Hopefully, I will be able to get back in the groove shortly.


Meanwhile, Clio knows how to beat the heat.