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*note: in the process of replacing images*

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Garden Odds and Ends

Grasshopper

By the time I got to this guy, it had already lost an eye and a leg and was half dead. I'm not sure if Dandelion did that (probably not, but still possible), but I put him out for the birds to make use of. I'm still amazed when I see insects this big - seems impossible!

Honeysuckle

I've been periodically and inexpertly pruning this Pink Lemonade Honeysuckle over the last few months, just trying to discard the horrible dry sticks that don't look great. There's an old bird's nest in the center, and hummingbirds/bees love the flowers, so I'm doing my best to achieve the perfect balance of preserving the organism without letting it get too unpleasant again.

Trash Pile Progress

Heap on the left used to be twice as tall. Mulberry tree trunk in the centre, destroyed tree to the right. We took the house on knowing about the trashed state of the garden, and luckily there's been more to salvage than throw away.

Monday, 25 October 2010

When The Rain Comes

Evergreen

Boysenberry Bush (rainy edition)

Droplet Spiderweb

Water from the sky! It continues! I thought we'd be done for a while, and the gardening could really get started, but I woke this morning to rainfall. Thanks to all this moisture, the free expanse of garden is exploding dangerously into green, making even more work for the upcoming month.

October 2010, take 2

This time we're prepared, with lawnmowers and weedwhackers and knowledge of the invasive plants.

Yesterday Fred finished building his soil sifter out of scrap wood (leftovers from previous people and our own projects) and mesh bought from Home Depot. It's quite impressive now, albeit simple.

Soil Sifter

It's main purpose is to help sift the garbage from the trash pile at the bottom of the garden that was so helpfully left by previous residents/contractors. I want the whole thing sorted, dispersed and gone by the time Spring arrives (whereupon it will be time to build proper raised beds for food that will feed us). I comfort myself in the knowledge that we've managed to save a lot of good things (clothes hanger, mangled metal garden fence) from it that certain people inexplicably thought weren't worth reusing. So there should be nothing left but bugs, concrete blocks and soil.

If we're lucky.

(No more black widow spiders please!)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Beginnings of a Blanket

Beginnings of a Blanket

A new set of bamboo crochet hooks (you can see the others in background jar) + cold weather + the need for colour = let's get our blanket on.

Monday, 18 October 2010

October Garden

October 2010 Garden

So the garden tends to lay dormant in terms of changes for the months of summer - June until September comes with unbearable heat - but back in March spring was swinging, and a neighbour had to intervene to help with the grass. Right now, everything is powering down from the summer, rains have come to visit for a week, and thus we're getting a little green back in our lives.

Uh Oh

Sometimes this is not great, and we're in need of a little weedwhacking already. A lot of unwanted plantlife that grew during spring is now very brittle and pokey (and not fire safe), but this is why we have two mulch piles on the go, a rake and multiple compost bins.

Apricot Leaves

We started a second zucchini plant about 6 weeks ago, but it hasn't yielded much except some very lovely, bright flowers. My tomatoes, although planted late, are fruiting - although I'm not entirely sure if they're going to get to their full beefsteaky size, or will remain stunted and green.

To-ma-to

But the recycled celery stump is thriving! Next time you buy a bunch of celery (as opposed to the ones where the sticks are already separated), cut the stump off, and plant it a pot. Little bit of water, some good soil, and it should start growing.

Celery (+1)

A word of warning however: caterpillars really like to chew on celery. Two of them managed to decimate the leaves (the ones sticking out the furthest) over one night. I was not best pleased and they were promptly dismissed to the apricot tree.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

On Washing Lines

This story is fairly old and overdramatic, as many things are when they finally hit the BBC, but it still pinpoints something about the faded American relationship with practicality that I find interesting.

In Southern California, using a washer and dryer combo is the way to go. Busy people, their busy lives, and the reliance on technology (be it appliances or cars) is How To Live. Despite the fact that we have free sunshine 95% of the year, no one I know dries their clothes outside (and yes, everyone I know has the space to do this). When we moved from our HOA controlled rented townhouse to our free and easy neighbourhood*, we briefly discussed buying a dryer, but ditched the idea in favour of lower bills, more space in the laundry room and spending $10 on a rope, hooks (to make a line between the posts of our porch) and clothespins (pegs!)... and another $20 on a drying rack that can be moved indoors and outdoors.

This setup has worked for an entire year! Without complaints! So we won't be buying a dryer yet. This could change when we have kids, but I doubt it - the washing machine is occupied for a few hours a week at the moment, and there's definitely a greater capacity for usage.

The best part? Standing on a porch in bare feet, listening to hawks scream around the sky in the morning. If you're looking for a little piece of calm, there's nothing like hanging out clothes to dry that will give it to you.

*Although chickens are still not allowed, boo