omly: peacock tail feather (Default)

Last weekend [livejournal.com profile] jasra came over to help [livejournal.com profile] salvbard and I tackle the jungle that had taken over during Pennsic. Not only did we get a ton of weeding done in the raised beds and front yard, but we also pruned back some of the larger perennials and herbs that were taking over. Score for [livejournal.com profile] jasra's coworkers!

Besides yard clean up, we also did some improvements for the front yard that I have been wanting for a while. We added some late blooming flowers since I didn't have many: black-eyed susans, coneflower, Russian sage, and yellow poppies. In addition to the welcome color, I am really glad to have reestablished some nectar-flow.

The final major accomplishment was finally putting down a slate path between the beds. Hopefully this will help clean up the look of it some and minimize the amount of weeding needed to keep it passable. For added bonus it completes the last part of the property boundary walk I have been working on at the suggestion of [livejournal.com profile] catya.

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omly: peacock tail feather (naiad)
I took the opportunity of the beautiful day and the fact that I work from home on Tuesdays to take one of my stretch breaks outside in the yard.

Grabbing the pruning shears on my way out, I finally got around to pruning the roses in the yard. I had been waiting until full winter to prune them, as I really wanted to do some heavy pruning while they were dormant. The winter was so mild though, that I never really got the chance. All of them had significant growth. In many cases buds had already given way to young leaves.

I have 3 different types of roses in the yard. The front yard has some that came with the house. They seem to bloom on new growth and get very leggy. Last year I did not prune these remotely hard enough. I did spring prune them last year, but this year I did so a bit more aggressively. I would still really like to try winter pruning with these though.

There are also roses in the altar garden. This is a small compact rose. I am not sure what I want to do with this one, other than I trimmed it back to keep it from overgrowing the altar garden completely. I probably should consider pruning this one more, but I just don't really know what I want to do with it or even if I am going to leave it in the altar garden.

The third kind of roses are a climbing variety. It blooms on old growth, so I wanted to minimize the amount of pruning on these. The more canes I leave from next year the more area might potentially have blossoms. They have not been in place long enough to have to have become terribly large, so mostly I was pruning for shape. I removed canes that pointed directly away from the trellis they are growing on and thus directly into the yard. The canes do have some rigidity to them, but they get a lot of growth per year and so I only wanted canes that it looked like I could provide some support for.

I really like learning more about gardening, but roses are something that I don't historically have a lot of experience with. I don't suppose there is anyone out there on my friend list that happens to have a fair amount of experience with?
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)

I wonder if this year is actully harder on the birds due to its mildness. I suspect that fewer people might be feeding them than usual.

We have had very frequent visitations by the local cardinal pair. Normally they are not as inclined to fuss with the sunflower seed feeder as they are a tiny bit large to fly up perfectly comfortably. This might also be a function of a local set of trees that was cut down this year that had a set of bluejay and catbird pairs though. They might just be being harrassed less for being in the area.

I also spotted the woodpecker stealing black sunflower seeds, which normally he would not be terribly interested in. They are a good oily seed though so if food was scarce I can see that as being the best of his options. I should go put out some suet, although given the rate the seed is going I suspect it will disappear nearly instantly once the starlings notice it. Fortunately they have a hard time at our sunflower seed feeder, but no such luck with the suet.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

omly: peacock tail feather (squash)
Would anyone have 2-3 extra zucchini seeds I could have? I would really like to have like 1 plant to provide [livejournal.com profile] cintyber with zucchini blossoms this summer, but I am not sure that is worth buying a whole packet of seeds. I am happy to trade other plants/seeds, barter skills, etc.
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
So I have been starting seedlings this morning. The packages often say they have ~100 seeds although I don't really need that. And I am certainly not going to go count them generally. But seriously, if the package says it has 100 seeds, I would really like more than 6.

So far this morning I have planted 3 types of peppers (redskin, marbles, and holy mole hybrid which brings me up to 4 types when you consider the cayenne I already started), cilantro, dill, Italian parsley, calendula, angel's trumpet, woad and 4 types of basil (cinnamon, lemon, Italian and Thai).

If anyone has interest in these or any of the other types of seed I end up mentioning, please let me know. It is not much more trouble to start extra plants, and I am happy to work out some sort of barter.

Busy Busy

Mar. 23rd, 2011 08:13 pm
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
Things have been busy, but lots of good things have been going on at casa de omly.

We finished up my spring break with lots of work on the yard. We pruned the peach, pear, apple and damson plum trees. I think the damson plum trees need a bit more pruning, and we have not pruned the plum tree at all (waiting for leaves).

The corner raised bed that will become the altar garden is coming along well. The frame is built, and we put down marble chip around it. C started 2 of the nearby raised beds as well. We still need to order gravel and topsoil to fill them once we are done building.

The Friday of Spring Break, I went to see The Last Lions with Benn (sad! no more LJ). I was very amused that it is narrated by the voice of Scar in the Lion King. Hee! That was fun, and I got a chance to get a peek of his new apartment which is very snazzy and seemed like it would have amazing light in the day.

I have gotten 2 packages in the mail full of seeds, and Roger built me parabolic reflectors for the grow lights we bought to make them more focused (aka not in my eyes when sitting in the livingroom) and adjustable in height (so that I can easily lift them as the seedlings grow). I just need to find time to start the seedlings! I thought it was going to be today, but instead I cleaned and rearranged the living room.

Also exciting is the fact that the first of the plants have arrived, climbing blue roses for the trellis we bought the weekend at the end of Spring Break. Fortunately C was home to receive them so that they didn't have to sit out in the cold. We are expecting a bunch more packages as they will break up the plant orders to ship at the optimal time for each plant type.

This week and last I had an extra evening lab, as one of the other lab instructors has been away at a conference in Europe this week. I will be very glad to have my Wednesday evenings back! They are great kids though, and I enjoyed working with them.

So much grading to catch up on, but I am hopeful to make a bit of progress before next week. I would like to get a little ahead as the analysis of their screenings of potential antibiotics are going to take a bit extra work to go over carefully and grade.

Additionally I need to design and polish a lab practical for the end of the semester so that I can make sure we have everything on hand that we might need. Whew, not sure when that will happen exactly, but it should be soonish.

And last night, [livejournal.com profile] salvbard and I snuck away after dinner to go to the Foundry for poutine and drinks, which was a rare treat. (OMG the ginger smash was super yummy.) I have been super happy with everything I have had there, and the company was wonderful. It can be hard to find time when he is free, so I was very happy to have the opportunity.

Lots of crafting has been happening, though I need to take pictures for my craft blog still. I appear to be on a sock jag, but they just make me really happy. I should start the fingerless gloves for C soon though, as he has been fairly patient.

All that and lots more things, though this seems to have gotten a bit long winded so I will leave the others for another post.
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
We refilled the bird-feeders this weekend, which means that our house has totally been the place to be if you are a bird. Currently we have out black sunflower seed, nyjer seed, and a berry suet.

With the black sunflower seed out again, we have gotten a lot more house finches than just with the nyjer seed. The red coloring in the males is directly related to how good their diet is, so it is really interesting that we see a fairly distinct difference in color intensity after only one year of feeding. The females are starting to get a bit pusher at the feeder, though they don't seem to be very broody yet.


Also of note, [livejournal.com profile] cintyber and I had a visitor that we had a hard time identifying at first. He appears to be a junco, which I had not been terribly familiar with though all the bird-identification sites we found say they are common and not shy.

With the warmer weather, I am suddenly really struck by how much bird song we have around the house. Even when the windows are closed, you hear them all day (though particularly so in the mornings).
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
Lots of snow means that we have had lots of really good bird watching from the living-room feeders. (Speaking of which, we need to refill the finch sock.)

The little woodpecker has become a regular all winter. I love his little inquisitive chirp that always lets me know I should turn around. Even when he is not at the feeder he is now often in one of the fruit trees checking things out.

The chickadee is also coming around a bit more often, but only a single lone one. So tiny compared to our other avian guests!

The cardinals from last year have multiplied. We now often have several in the plum tree all at once, only 2 with adult male coloring. They are a lovely bright spot on a grey winter day.

The blue jays that were problematic last year have not been around much if any this year yet. They are mean though! I suspect they will be back once everyone clutches.

We have had a brief house finch lull, which is sad because they are delicate and in come cases colorful. Plus I have a soft spot for them as they were the first birds to frequent the house feeders. (See above needing to refill sock.) If there is seed there they will check out the suet, but the suet is not enough draw by itself. The thistle seed is best, though they also like the black sunflower seeds.

For what it is worth the house sparrows really like the black sunflower seed too, but they don't have as pretty a song, are a bit more drab and tend to empty the feeder super fast with their hordes. On the plus side though over the house finches, they are indigenous.

Speaking of hordes, the starlings which were uninterested in the seed periodically come for the suet. The fact that only 1-2 can feed at a time keeps them from emptying it, but arg I don't like them. Non-native, noisy, dirty and irritating! Not loving you!

The cat bird comes to hang out and see what the other birds are doing, but I have never seen him eat. Love this urban bird. In the spring he will play ambulance, police, firetruck, car and fire alarm sirens. He is very talented!

And finally the little grey bird. I first saw these on the South Shore just before the turn of the millennium. I don't remember their name, but in the bird books they are not listed as living this far north over the winter. It has been so mild the last few years though that we have had some gradually moving this way more permanently. He has a pretty song and an interesting silhouette. I don't see him at the feeders though (a bit big for our seed feeders and seems uninterested in the suet), but sometimes he sits in the plum tree puffed up and looking cold.

*edit* I looked up the grey bird again, and it seems to be the Eastern Phoebe. (Thanks Papa for the bird-book. I still have the one you gave me all those years ago, and it still gets used.) The book suggests that overwinter it tends to eat berries. Maybe we should think about planting something that will encourage them in future winters.
omly: peacock tail feather (naiad)
Whew, that was a long week, but a good one. It started off incredibly productive, which is good, because by the end of it almost everybody in the house was feeling under the weather. Despite that we managed to get a bunch of things done that have been hanging around on my to-do list for months.

C and I managed to put some furniture together including our new table. With five at the table we just needed more space, and now we have the option of putting in extra leaves if we have company. Yay!

In addition to all of our regular house upkeep tasks, having extra help meant that we could get to some areas that I just run out of time for. I will need to do some intensive reorganization of a few areas before I am really happy with the common areas, but significant progress was made!

I also had time to sit and do some mending, which was awesome as my mending bag is also known as the place where things go to die. I actually like mending (though not hemming), it just always seems to be a lower priority then everything else on the list so it never gets done. [livejournal.com profile] cintyber now has 3 pieces of clothing back in circulation, but I am hopeful on getting a few more items out soon especially if I break out the sewing machine and manage a trip to Windsor Button soon.

C and I also did a bunch of gardening, which was very exciting. Marigolds were planted around the edge of the raised bed. The boxwood-like bushes were moved into a short hedge, which I hope to start training into shape this summer. All the rest of the offending shrubbery that the house seller put in the front yard was taken out, and some of it replanted elsewhere. Hopefully we will get the azaleas to [livejournal.com profile] dancer and [livejournal.com profile] tk7602 next week, but in the mean time we have them in temporary pots. Also almost all of the plants we bought last weekend were put in the ground, and we have started developing a game plan for what to plant elsewhere (more on that in the future).

Catching up

Jun. 6th, 2010 09:42 pm
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
Holy crud I have a lot to catch up on. Ok working backwards:

-- Chiquita and C are both sick. Need to take Chiquita to the pediatrician tomorrow morning.
- I had a panic attack on the way home.
+ visiting my aunt and uncle in P-town
+ Thurn and Taxis, champagne, Scrabble, Apples to Apples, cuddles, and walks on the beach
+ Swimming with [livejournal.com profile] crazybone, [livejournal.com profile] jasra, [livejournal.com profile] majes and C
+ getting some drawing time in
+ Relaxacon was good.
- picked up Chiquita from the school nurse on Friday
+ first CSA veggies
+/- getting caught in the rain on the way to pick up farm share, completely soaked
+ exploring Downtown Crossing and getting lunch in Chinatown with C on Thursday
+ We built and planted a raised bed. It has Cherokee purple tomatoes, jalapenos and Thai hot peppers
+++ C moved in on Wednesday! More permanent pseudonym to be developed.
* went to open meeting on school from 6:30-10:30 pm Tuesday. I am worried about what will be decided on June 30th by the school committee
- caught in the monsoon on way home from school with Chiquita, completely soaked to the skin, wasn't feeling well after
+/- chaperoned field trip to the Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation for Chiquita's class: yay fun! OMG exhausting! I fell asleep on the way home with a bunch of screaming 11 year olds
+ BBQ on Memorial Day at [livejournal.com profile] deadwinter's house. Also great to see [livejournal.com profile] tk7602 and [livejournal.com profile] dancer.
+ working on the yards as a household with [livejournal.com profile] salvbard and [livejournal.com profile] cintyber
+ unpacking and going through several boxes of books in our basement
+ had fun at CT Renn Faire with [livejournal.com profile] majes and [livejournal.com profile] jasra. AND we randomly got to see [livejournal.com profile] missamay (and her shiner, ow!)
+ helping [livejournal.com profile] nchanter with some packing and cleaning
+ helping pour a cement basement floor at [livejournal.com profile] deguspice's house; pink flowered boots!
omly: peacock tail feather (squash)
So in doing some research, it seems like one of the trees in the yard is a bitter almond. This has me thinking about if there is a good reason to save it or not. It has beautiful pink blossoms at the moment, but that is about all the pros I can think of. (Please help me think of any reasons I have overlooked!)

It is also a big tree taking up a lot of space and light in a very small yard that is already very full of trees. Among other things removing this tree means we could definitely have lilac.

Bitter almond has a lot more hydrocyanic acid than sweet almonds, so at least raw they are more dangerous. Just a few can be incredibly dangerous to small ones, which granted we don't have any at the moment. I am not super worried about random people coming in the yard to eat them though. You can use them if they are cooked, which decomposes the HCN, but they are not used to nearly the extent of sweet almonds. Have any of you worked with them?

In the fall the fruits are everywhere, and at least this past (very wet) summer the outsides went moldy right on the tree. This is mostly an issue as there are mold sensitivities in the house. Hard to say if this was a huge health factor, though as the weather in general made for a pretty miserable summer.
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
I hope everybody's pi day was great. We had pumpkin pie here at Order 66.

IMG_0056

Mmmm, pie.

In other news, we got to see where the lowest spot on the basement floor is when we checked on it last night and the water had just started to seep through the cement floor and it was still only the size of a footprint or so. Hello new waterline! Since then we have a shallow lake in one area of the basement, but fortunately I am home on spring break to keep an eye on it.

We are really lucky that the basement is really dry in general. This is the first water problem we have had in the basement, and it is only about 2-3" deep in the deepest areas. Most of the basement is not underwater though. (Maybe a quarter to a third is?) Yay for homeownership. :P
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
So we are finally done putting together the furniture from Ikea. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chaiya, [livejournal.com profile] cintyber, [livejournal.com profile] jasra, and [livejournal.com profile] salvbard for helping make that happen. We would have been done much sooner if we hadn't kept going back and picking up other items. :P I am no illusions that this will be the last of the Ikea furniture though.
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
This is day 4 in the new house, and I totally admit to being exhausted.

There was much painting with [livejournal.com profile] jasra Friday. Then after she left I painted the cathedral ceiling-height walls in my bedroom. At this point my room is done as far as painting other than touching up the trim.

Saturday [livejournal.com profile] crazybone helped us move a ton of boxes despite the fact that I am a flake and technology hates me. Getting through all the large furniture with my sister's truck was amazing and made this a lot more managable. Also my family drives me crazy. (Family members on the f-list should know that this was a specific incident only I am referring to.)

Sunday [livejournal.com profile] cintyber, [livejournal.com profile] salvbard, and I took a trip to Home Depot to get more painting supplies. It is a good thing I really like both color and painting. By this point my feet started to hurt most of the time from all the standing between painting, packing and moving.

Also I went with Chiquita to see the Openair Circus. We had gone specifically because [livejournal.com profile] falathwen and company were involved, but it was also nice to see a number of friendly faces including [livejournal.com profile] roozle.

Today was more painting with [livejournal.com profile] jasra. We did a coat of paint in both Chiquita's and [livejournal.com profile] cintyber's rooms. Also I am almost done painting the table and chairs to better match the kitchen.

For now though I need to take a break from painting and unpacking to work on my "real" job. Tomorrow my last week of Summer session starts up and will finish Thursday. Then I will have a short period before the Fall starts back up, in which I need to prep my syllabi and get the house in order. Busy!

House!

Aug. 1st, 2009 10:47 am
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
Hey, just as an FYI. We haz house!
omly: peacock tail feather (Default)
Apparently I need to post more than I just think about posting.

Two weekends ago (as in not this past weekend, but the one prior) I went to visit family. I helped my sister paint pink stripes in the new nursery. That day she had felt some pain, and the baby was sitting much lower after that. She can't have much longer to go, especially as it has been a week since then. I know she is hoping to wait until after her other child's birthday this coming weekend, but we will see.

This past week was full of me catching up with school stuff and packing more boxes. I try to do several a week, so that I don't have to do them all at once.

Friday [livejournal.com profile] salvbard and I signed the purchase and sale for the house we are looking to buy. The bank's appraisal had come back the same day.

The weekend was full of Arisia meetings. I knit a sock. It is very orange. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] paradoox, [livejournal.com profile] smozz, [livejournal.com profile] quietann and [livejournal.com profile] deguspice for their gracious hosting.

Then today Chiquita and I went for a picnic and played at the Frog Pond, with the excuse of returning a borrowed item back to [livejournal.com profile] mizarchivist. I may have gotten a little too much sun despite shade and sunscreen, but now at least it feels like summer.

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