Friday, February 28, 2020

Winter wonderland

We actually received several inches of snow the past couple of days. And the temps were cold enough for it to stick around. But not for long, as we will be in the 40's by Sunday. Then rain, rain, and more rain. So maybe spring is on it's way?

The weather is interfering with my yard clean-up plans, but just as well. I spotted several LBJ's (Little Brown Jobs - sparrows, finches, etc.) feeding on weed seeds. I've also seen fruit eaters going after the last of the pokeweed berries. So these plants are not weeds, they are organic bird feeders.

The other day I sorted through the leftover packaged seeds, tossing anything resembling a vegetable as I no longer grow my own food. I don't throw out old flower seeds, though, unless they prove to be unviable. The black hollyhock seeds I planted the last several years were purchased in 2004 and sprouted like champs. I'm still in the process of downsizing the garden, so I am not ordering any new seed this year. If there is something I feel I need (like more zinnias), I'l buy them locally.

One set of plants I will be buying is something to replace the coleus for the front porch. The mother plant I wintered over for many years finally bit the dust. I will probably get more coleus - they seems to thrive there - but will eyeball some alternatives, too. The spot gets some intense morning sun, then shade the rest of the day, so not just anything will do.

Despite - or because of - the weird weather we've had this winter, I am ready for spring. How about you?

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Just for the record

Monday the robins that did not migrate showed up to feast on the berries on the hawthorn tree. My observation is they ate mostly from the top of the not-very-tall-yet tree, which allowed me to harvest the ones on the lower branches for dyeing. I'm guessing the thorns affect where they can land on the branches.

Tuesday (yesterday) I spotted daffodils emerging from the leaf mold. Brave or fool hardy? Today it is snowing, with several inches expected along with some arctic temps.

While I was outside yesterday, I picked up dog poop (a new milestone in recovery from hip surgery), cut back the clematis, removed most the milkweed (hope those seeds spread far and wide!), filled bird feeders, and as stated above, harvested berries from the hawthorn tree. That all took about an hour. Today I am stiff and sore, especially my back but not my hip!

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Diggin' it

Some of the drainage work occurred right across the street from my house last Tuesday and Wednesday. "They" exposed the gas main and did something, I don't know what because I did not go out and chat up the worker bees, before (mostly) filling the hole back up.

Badger Daylighting uses hot water to turn soil, even clay, into slurry that they can suck up. This seems like a much safer way to expose gas lines than using a backhoe and hoping it doesn't cause a gas leak. All they did was create a trench over the pipe, though.

At one point, ten guys were standing around the trench, doing what? Was there a problem? Or was it break time?

Badger left and Nipsco took over. The backhoe turned the trench into a big hole on Tuesday, then a bigger hole on Wednesday. Some work of some kind was performed in the hole before it was filled up almost all the way. I think a load of stone went in first (I *do* have a life and did not spend that much time watching from the diningroom) and the topping appears to be sand.

Orange fencing and pylons are still there, along with the backhoe as of today. The weather has turned since all this took place, colder with a bit of snow. Not sure if that is interfering with the work, but either way, it is supposed to warm up over the next few days.

Thursday night we met with the contractor who is doing the actual drainage work. The maps show a new storm pipe running from the drain near my driveway to the east. That work will not directly affect my property except in an incidental way. I think my swale will not be dug out either, as the rainwater already runs the correct way - south to north - across the front of my yard. Work is beginning at the south end of the addition, so I don't expect to see much happening here until May or so.

Once all this work is completed, I may contact the hardscaping guy who did my driveway, to see if he can improve the drainage in my backyard. There are too many downspouts and a sump pump emptying into the same area - it gets very soggy out there. But first things first: let's give the water some place to go.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Six more weeks of winter, such as it is

In my (faulty) memory, wherever I am, the sun shines on Ground Hog Day, if only for a short while. Today's absence of gray skies was a nice change of pace, BUT. I have been noticing signs of spring here and there: Canada geese migrating, starlings that never left, early morning bird song, and today a bee seeking the warmth of my daughter's car. It's just not right.

Construction signs are up in the neighborhood, with two at either end of the block where I live. This week we get to meet the contractor who is supposed to fix all our drainage issues. In fact, they have already started, moving gas lines at the innermost part of the addition. A variety of trucks, including some from Badger Daylighting, have come and gone.

Inside, I started the process (wrote a check) for new flooring to replace the remaining carpet. Every time I clean up pet puke (and they always puke on carpeting, not linoleum), I tell myself that soon I will be wiping it up from laminate. Much easier. A friend gave me her Roomba and I may invest in a Crosswave (my daughter loves hers). Then I will just need something that dusts and cleans bathrooms.