Monday, August 26, 2013

Good bye Austin

April 2001-August 19, 2013
We will really miss you Mr. Buddy. 

Austin and Agatha right after my ex and I brought them home from the pound.
~5 1/2 weeks old. Maple City, MI.

(Below) Here he is at 5 1/2 months. He liked to lean on things from the start:
shoes, piles of clothes, stereo speakers, or--in a pinch--zucchini.

After he moved to New Mexico in the spring of 2005, he developed an active Facebook presence.  He was one of the early Farmville moguls.

>>As is often the case, he was one of those "large" cats who love small boxes. The Crackerjack box was probably the cutest, but he was pretty adorable in the bottom of a recent puzzle box too. And Oh So Helpful with those jigsaw pieces!<<

(Below) We let him out into the yard his last few days, to distract him from his aches and pains, and send him out with dirt under his nails--with the scent of lizards, spiders and sparrows fresh on his mind.

Monday, June 10, 2013

First Week of June 2013

**The Forecast:  No Mercy.  We're getting ready to dig into the party ice fund for the chickens.  And G got out the mister and the fan.  OMG.  It feels way too soon to be struggling like this.  :(  She coiled the soaker hose under the apple tree, and threaded it back through the sun chokes.  We'll have to keep an eye out to see if the chickens will go too far and endanger that potential shade thicket.  They are up to 2-3.5'.  I suspect that if we keep them watered, they'll stay just slightly ahead of the hen hoard.  I'm sure there is a terrible homily in there somewhere... we're trying to keep them from killing off potential shade/ comfort.  O Mankind, take heed.

**About promiscuous seeds:  where the chocolate flowers started, where they are now.  They certainly don't fill in neatly.  Ditto: spurge (I'm basically "weeding" that out all over the place.)  The big rangy sunflowers (weeds, weeds, weeds!).  Penstemons (sp?)  Echinacea....  They don't end up where I wanted them, and often get establishing somewhere that is flat out surprising. Oh, and the hollyhocks.  Not enough water off the roof this spring for them to germinate on the west side.  Sad.  But the one beside the underwhelming (sterile male?) wisteria will probably bloom this week.  (How on earth did it get there?  I want to say it's a medium red?)

**Not in chronological order:  did I ever post photos of the irises?  They were stunning this spring.

**Calendar for things blooming in early June:  it feels early, but a couple of the Echinaceas unfurled blooms yesterday.  G's pink/white standard rose bush blossomed.  Maybe the spring has been hard on bugs?  It has historically been covered with aphids, but seems to be devoid this time.  This morning there were probably half a dozen blooms open.  Very handsome.  2 yellow coriopsis blooming away.  (one of them new, to fill the hole left by the baffling loss of a sage I originally transplanted from my time in the little house downtown. :(  The lavendar bush had a hard winter, but should bloom in the next couple of weeks.  (I can see little blossom stalks.)  Last weekend--first weekend in June--the Bird of Paradise bushes exploded.  (SOOO gorgeous and exotic.)  Oh, and the Jupiter's Beard up front by the front gate.  Hard to keep her watered, but if we manage it, she'll be gorgeous.  The purple salvias, which have been so gorgeous, are fading fast.  And the heat is gradually choking off the pansies that have been so splendid this year.  Hate to see then go.

**Glad I transplanted a bit of snow in summer from the front bed.  It didn't come back this year, for good.  So the bit in a pot outside the front door is all I have at the moment.  Such a pretty plant.

**A time-lapse sequence of the silly shade plants?  The little coleuses finally seem to have gotten their roots under them.  (They should get pretty big?!)  And the impatiens have started to fill in.  They looked so naked at first... it was painful.  In another couple weeks (provided we keep watering!), they should finally look good.

Spring 2013 - Where did it go?!

First Week of June 2013
The best I can do at this point is a digest, right?!

*WALKWAY  G put down the brick to extend our walkway (when?).  No real fuss, or prep, she just started arranging pavers.  It actually looks decent.  And will keep us from getting our feet wet if it EVER RAINS AGAIN.

*PINE BARK  The end of last season G bought a load of walk-on pine bark.  And as piles do at our place, it sat around for months until she spread it half way around a nearby bed.  That's as far as we got in 2012.  This spring, she got out the plastic edging, and started digging it in so that that bed (the one with the now dead/ sculptural RedBud) -- so that the bed could be lower than the bark-covered path.  In accordance with sound water management principles. 
Well, she got about a third of the way around and got distracted.  So we looked at big curls of brown plastic for several weeks.  :o  I finally got sick of looking at it, and did the hard digging required to get it installed all the way around.  *Yay!  *Much better!* 
We bought a load of walk on pine bark Memorial Weekend (that makes 2). A week later, spread it out. Looks nice. Need much more.  This past Saturday, June 8, I ran down to the S Valley for load 2.  Sunday we spread that out.  It's starting to look more civilized!

And in that vein, we put together the handsome stainless table that has been sitting in the way for 6 weeks (more?).  Took down the old wood table.  Emptied trash.  Tossed things into the back compost spinner (with chicken poo and several gallons of water).  Swept.  Washed the cushions on the glider.  It looks so nice!  Now would like to shop for a stainless trashcan & 2 small wrought iron tables, & figure out a way to create some shade on the west side.  At which point it will, at long last, look positively middle class!  :)

*Tomatoes - 4 put in ~2/3 wks earlier. G had to fix all the drip lines before putting in the rest... Memorial Weekend? Or was it earlier? Chickens thrown out of that particular bed. (Will have to count how many plants we ended up with...?)  June 6-9 She plants a bunch more tomatoes, puts in the melons and peppers. 

*Climbing Rose trimming workshop Saturday am May 25 at the Tony Hillerman library. Very cute.  Certainly makes you look at our big shaggy Lady Banks differently.  When did we plant the one on the west side?  She's actually looking good.  She's a big girl now.

*The HARSH WINTER of 2013. And bitter cold plus extended drought.
Very alarming: we really thought that gigantic lilac next to the front door was dead. Contemplating that as a bald spot was pretty depressing, even though I suspect that neither of us is all that fond of it.  Nearly a month after it's smaller sister had leafed out and blossomed, it sprouted tiny green buds.  It's back!!  (I have a renewed respect for it).  Same thing with the butterfly bush. We were SURE it was dead. but watered it carefully anyway.  All the stems were dead,  all 3' gone.  Sticks.  I kept looking at the base of it--nothing.  I had basically given up, when I finally spotted a tiny sprig of green.  The roots apparently made it. We now have 6-8 shoots, up to maybe 12" (of course, a quarter of its old stature). G put a spanish broom up front last summer. We probably didn't water it enough in the fall... it was dead as a doornail.  The RedBud--dead.  The southern most grade vine didn't come back.  And somehow we managed to kill off all but 1 of our asparagus plants.  (?!)  Must have needed a BIT of water fall and winter, or spring?  I don't know.  I'm bummed about that.  ((My tiny balloon flower came back :) ))

*New plants - a honeysuckle, a new lace vine, and one more vine thing (up front)?  Some hand-me-down creeping phlox--we're trying to get that established up front.  A butterfly bush and G transplanted some chocolate flowers.  We'll see if they make it.

*2 new fruit trees - G bought me a plum. And she wanted a Peach. The year-old crab apple is doing well, but the late frost nipped off all the blossoms. Certainly don't have to cull any of the other trees...

*G's pea patch is bursting as of the last few days. :)

*Battled wasps this spring.

*Drought conditions hard on the birds and bees... we've worked hard to keep some water out for them.

*Thing - no rain, no rain, no rain. We bought a very inobtrustive new 50-gal rain barrel at Lowe's. Of course, at this rate, it will never rain again. (6% humidity at some point last week?!) How long has it been? :( Apparently the ditch water will be shut down the end of June? :( So the Sandovals and their food for America

*Chicks everywhere! LSJ & T got 5 silkie babies. lost one to pasty butt. Raising them inside, in the back bathroom. very cute. They re-did their sunroom and their sliver of a backyard. It looks nice. Teresa killed herself as CIO of the foodbank, getting ready for a critical national audit of the warehouse & distribution areas. It went very, very well. She's exhausted. :) We haven't seen them much. **Rye and Bill Bailey got 25 chicks. We went to visit them finally over Mem Weekend. I soooo have chick lust. And I SOOOOO don't have the energy to devote to building extra space and watching over an integration process. **The family Maria is living with also got chicks. **Irene Welch Mooney got a hand full of Lakenvelders. soooo cute!!