Monday, July 5, 2010

Quick Update

I have been working on the house the past two-plus weeks; I just haven't been working in the house.

Nope, time and the growing season waits for no one, so it's been yard and garden, garden and yard, since the 19th of June.

Grinding up last fall's leaves to mulch the vegetable beds, mostly.  How long I could do that each day has depended upon three factors:  1) the relative wetness of the leaves to be chopped, 2) the battery life remaining in my lawn mower, and 3) the energy remaining in me.  Nos. 1 and 2 are the most determinative, since I'd be tempted to keep going until I dropped (though I know I shouldn't) if the mower would keep going and if there were enough dry leaves to do.

This process has really done a number on part of my back lawn.  Set the mower low enough the mulch the leaves, and there goes the grass.  What I really need is one of those leaf-grinding machines, but you know what they say about wishes and beggars.

There's been a lot more planting, too.  Local nursery had a good sale on flowers annual and perennial a week or so ago and I took advantage.  Put in some impatiens under the kerrias by the back gate, and it looks so nice, I wonder why I never did it before.

Got some pruning in, too, late last week.  My weeping cherry needed a haircut, badly, and I confess to taking my pruners to the shrubs of the neighbors to the west, here and there, to clean up where he'd done a crudely quick-and-dirty hack job on them about a month ago.  I mean, I'm the one who's gotta look at them, right?

Week ago Saturday, the neighbor across the street brought over his ladder and cleaned the maple seeds out of my back porch downspout.  We thought he'd got them all, till it rained hard that afternoon and the gutter was still overflowing.  I was watching the spout over the rain barrel, when whoosh!!!  the last of the clog cleared and that water exploded out of the spout and, completely missing the barrel, made a small temporary pond in my back yard.

It settled down and filled the barrel, and we got another good barrel-filler the 23rd.  Hope we get another soon.  That's the last it's rained worth a darn around here.

What else?  Once the leaves were gone from their spot in the west border, I moved the broken bricks I put there two years ago, then dug out the river rock and took up the landscape fabric.  Discovered a cool thing when I did:  the previous owners, when they put in the board fence, lined the foot of it with brick pavers.  Funny, it's only like this on the west side.  Looks like it keeps small creatures from burrowing underneath.  I laid another row of bricks over that, since the fence has shifted a bit.

That done, I was able to turn my compost pile.  Lots of nice dirt on the bottom, which I'll have to decide where to use.  Maybe I can fill the depressions in my front lawn.  Heaven knows that with this dry spell the grass in those areas might be dead already. 

Anyway, tonight, even though there were more leaves to mulch (raked out from the dark and mysterious side yard), I elected to come inside and strip old shellac off the stairs to the third floor.  Don't think I've tackled that since the 12th.  I knocked off about twenty till midnight, even though I only have two treads and risers and a certain amount of stringer left to do.  My sensible reason is that I have round two of chemotherapy in the morning and should get a good night's sleep beforehand.  My real reason for stopping is that my hair is falling out, and although I got it cropped short a week ago, it got really annoying with the hairs sticking to the sweat on my back and shoulders.  If I didn't have more heat gun work to do, I probably would have pushed through.  But I'm not feeling that dedicated.

So I'll try to add a picture or two to this post, then it's off to the shower.


Sandy said...

You continue to amaze me with your strength and determination, my friend.

Karen Anne said...

That's a lot accomplished.

Do you actually have to grind the leaves? I've always just used them as is.

Kate H. said...

Thanks, Sandy. If you only knew how indolent I am!!

Karen Anne, that's a thought.

I grind them because that way it looks better, they incorporate into the soil faster, and the rain water percolates through them more easily. Also, loose dry whole leaves tend to blow away.

On the other hand, whole leaves might keep the weeds down better, which is one of the main reasons for mulch . . .

Maybe if this fall I bagged all the whole leaves up and poured water in them before closing them up for the winter, they might be decayed enough by spring to stay put. They'd go farther than the ground-up ones, I imagine.

I'll think about it.