Saturday, March 26, 2022

Baby, it's cold outside!

Bitter cold, with a bitter wind. I'm back to long sleeved shirts, wool sweater, socks, etc. My son in northwest Indiana says a mourning dove is building a nest outside his kitchen window, but here they are trying to keep their tootsies warm on the heated birdbath. I wonder if this is the same pair I photographed a couple of weeks ago. (Notice the grass greening up in the background.)

The weather has also been very wet this past week, so nothing new has happened in the yard. I did repot several houseplants. My son and his girl friend gave me a planter with four plants in it, but it arrived in wonky shape. I transplanted them into a larger pot, but they still weren't very happy. Now each plant is in its own pot under a grow light on top of the freezer. The only ones that have been sort of identified are the dieffenbachia which is toxic to pets and the Flaming Katy which blooms in the fall and winter. Hopefully, they will eventually perk up.

BTW, the herbs I was growing under the light on top of the freezer did fine, but I kept forgetting to actually *use* them. Maybe I am no longer a fresh herb person.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Too old too soon

This past week, my SO helped me dig the dirt out of a couple of raised beds and transfer it to the remaining raised bed in the wildflower area. We both walk and we both exercise, yet a couple of hours of shoveling and we were spent. Regarding DIY landscaping, it is getting to be too much for us. I called in the professionals just in the nick of time.

I also strung tape to mark off the general area where the new beds will be, so that the lawn people don't apply pre-emergent where there will be mulch and new plants. It looks like a crime scene.

Watson managed to find a way into the fenced off area; hopefully, I have blocked all the holes. The dogs are enjoying today's sunshine and chasing chipmunks around the deck. The grass is slowly turning green, but it is really squishy in the backyard, from the inch of rain that fell over the past two days. The ground is just saturated.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Wacky weather

Yesterday was cold and breezy, with intermittant sunshine and snow flurries, sometimes both at the same time. Today is an "in like a lion" day - more wind but slightly warmer temps and plenty of sun. Various spring flowers started to emerge, but now they seem stalled.

This past week, my SO and I fenced off the corner of the yard where a variety of wildflowers will go. The fencing is nothing fancy, bits of this and that laying around. The point is to keep the dogs out. We also relocated a few bird feeders.

As you can see in the above photo, we are also getting rid of the cinder block raised bed in that area. Once the ground is firm enough for the mower, we'll transfer the blocks to the far end of the driveway where they will be free for the taking.

Now I can sit in my recliner in the den and keep an eye on all the bird feeders and the bird bath. The funniest avian thing I've seen this week is several robins who park themselves under the bark butter feeder and the mealworm feeder, scavenging for crumbs. They will even chase away the starlings even though it is the starlings who drop bits of bark butter and mealworms on the ground.

In preparation for having some work done on the front of the house, I've been digging out the planter on the front porch, filling up large plastic pots into which some rhubarb plants will be transferred. From what I've read, you can grow rhubarb in containers as long as you slide them into the garage over the winter. So that is what I plan to do since the rhubarb bed will become history with the new landscape design.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

Wipe on, wipe off

Over the past twenty years or so, my SO has helped me do things in the yard, redo things in the yard, undo things in the yard. He has dug holes, pruned shrubs, and pulled weeds. He does most of the heavy lifting and most of the tasks that involve power tools. Last fall, after my shoulder surgery, he even mowed. Most recently, he pried apart the raised bed frames we (mostly he) constructed way back when.



And he does all this without complaining! The closest he has ever gotten to a whine was a couple of years ago, when we were buying bags of mulch, and he asked how much longer we were going to do this. He's a keeper!

More newbies for the backyard are Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata 'FarrowBPop' and 'FarrowMrP'). Also known as Eastern hemlock, the Canadian hemlock attracts birds and butterflies, but also can get infested with the hemlock wooly adelgid, Adelges tsugae, which so far has not reached Indiana. Fingers crossed on that issue. Winterberry holly provides cover for wildlife, nesting spots, nectar for insects, and fruit for birds (especially bluebirds). It serves as a host to Henry's Elfin butterfly (Callophrys henrici). 'FarrowBPop' (Berry Poppins) is the female of the species, 'FarrowMrP' (Mr. Poppins) the male.