Monday, April 30, 2012

May-haps? or May-hem? We'll see.

April was much much colder than March.  March was so warm that my heating bill looked like something from July!

April froze a lot.  Just yesterday the bird bath was iced over.  Yesterday was sunny, though bright, blustery and cool.  This morning was cold and wind and rain and I wished I had my gloves when I ran out for errands.

But by noon, omigosh, it was hot!  And humid.  And uncomfortable - in that 180 turn that Ma Nature is fond of these days.  So I checked the long-range and gee.  Our last frost date is traditionally May 18.  But these temps are June temps, mostly.  The 10th may dip low enough to frost - maybe.

Otherwise -- tra la, it's May (well, close enough for government work!).

So I have done something, rather rash.  I usually keep the leaky front bay window taped up with plastic well into May (especially LAST May, brrrr!).  But I was seduced by the warmth, the sunshine, and accuweather to get on with this annual chore.

I peeled off the plastic.  I hate it.  I hate it. I hate it.  The view through it is probably like looking through a cataract.

But look!  Now everything is bright and clear and shiny!  Yay!   :-D

Okay, accuweather, I peeled off all the used tape, threw it away and stored the plastic wrap in a box for October.  I'm ready for summer, so -- you better not be messing with me...! 

*pant*  Gosh, it's even too hot for jeans.  I'm switching to shorts.  Oh dear.  Suddenly I'm bang  into another seasonal chore.  Now where did I leave that razor.... ;-/

P.S. Here's some other (less racy)  seasonal news.
Click the pic for the latest on the basement plants.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The dire deed is done

Broken Blaze maple

Click pic for full story

For the full story on the tree removal, click on the pic of the stump.

In other happier tree news, the front crabapple that had been trimmed and shaped last June was completely covered with blooms this past month.

Now, thanks to the bees and other pollinators, it looks like there's going to be a bumper crop of fruit this year.

Lovely!  I've been without crabapple jelly for FAR too long!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tech treat

This weekend BD and I ran up to Hartville to check out the new store opening of Hartville Hardware.  We also shopped at Beiler's for a load of fresh fruit and veg.  After many days of mild weather (great for outside projects) the temps PLUNGED from high 70s to daytime temps of just above freezing!  Wow.  Weather whiplash!  So Saturday was a perfect day to be inside at the stores, and I bought some cool stuff for the KITCHEN.  After shopping we enjoyed a late lunch at a local Chinese place.  Yum!

The outing itself was fun.  But wait until you see what other delights BD had in store for me.

His roommate (SS) recently bought a new iPad2.  And guess who's the lucky recipient of his old iPad1?   Guess.  Go ahead.  GUESS! 

Yeehaw.  C'est MOI!!   :-D  Oh my heart!  Talk about a TREAT!  The left side of my brain lit up like a halogen bulb.  (SS - did you feel a disturbance in the Force when I opened the box?  I sure did.)

And the timing of this gift (weather wise) -- just perfect.  Cold and rainy and there's even some snow in the forecast.  It's supposed to be lousy outside until the middle of the week.  (Yay?)

BD helped me set it up and showed me how to buy/download APPS from the Apple APP store and made sure I was good to go.  After he left that evening, I downloaded a couple of free games, just so I could learn how to use the iPad.  Before I knew it, I'd played ANGRY BIRDs for, um, (really?  is this right?) about 4 hours.  LOL  Huh.  Well, like Berlitz language lessons, full IMMERSION is the best way to learn.  Right?  RIGHT?  ;-D

Anywho, Sunday I downloaded a DOCTOR WHO game and Iost another day to .... training.  (Yeah.  I'm going with that.  Training!)

Oh, look.  I can also download a READER APP for the iPad.  Oh dear....

Meanwhile - winds are roaring from the NW - gusting up to 50mph +.  It's not looking good out there right now.... :-(

Luckily, there were things to do down in the (shhhh) Secret Plant Lab.  ;-D

Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm PINE-ing for Earth Day

As you know, Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day.  Since I celebrate Earth Day 24x7x365 here at the Sanctuary, I don't usually mark the 22nd in any special way.

But this year Earth Day came looking for me.  :-D

All this week our township allowed residents to drop off used electronics, batteries, small household appliances, computers, CD & DVDs, media players, etc.  Yay.  I had a bucket of household batteries that Mom and I saved up for a couple of years and were looking for an easy way to recycle them.  I was off to save the planet....

While I was unloading at the depot, I asked if they knew where I could recycle a couple of boxfulls of used video tapes (not on their published 'approved' list).  She went and checked and, lucky me, she said THEY would accept them.  Excellent.  I told her I'd run home and be right back.

As I headed for the car she asked, "Do you want a tree?"  Hello?  Tree?  Because of Earth Day the township was giving away baby white pine trees.  Well, boy yes!  Please!  She fished out 2 and handed them to me.  "Nobody is taking any," she said.  "Everyone says they would rather take down trees than plant them."  How sad.  I told her I'd plant every one she gave me so... one thing led to another and yours truly brought home 14 pine tree starts.

Not letting any grass grow under my feet, I hightailed out to the back yard by the golf course and marked out 2 additional arcs for 9 of the newbies.  Since they were bare rooted, I merely sliced a deep divot into the sod, inserted the tree, then heeled it in with the divot.  Presto.  Future privacy forest.

In the end I still have 5 more trees (the smallest of the lot).  I figure I'll just pot these up for summer,  and see how they do.

By Fall, if they are doing well, I may have determined where to put them.  Gosh.  Sure wish I could just go and plant them in some neighbor's yards.  But they are too busy (even as I type) cutting down even more trees (too much mess to deal with).   Oh for crying out loud, people.  Go live in an apartment and leave houses with nice lots to folks who aren't paranoid about nature.  *sheesh*

Happy Earth Day. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The view gets better every year

Kitchen window view - AUG 2006

Kitchen window view - APR 2012

A lot has changed in the 6 years between these 2 pics.  The deck arbor has been completely rebuilt and I sanded and refinished the whole deck.

In the first pic there are no brick 'hedges' along the turnaround.  There are no beds other than the 2 that came with the house: the veg bed and a rectangular flower bed straight off the deck.  The rest was just lawn, lawn, lawn.

Oh the sweat, the aches & pains, the cash, and the occasional blood that has gone into this view.  *woof*

And worth every bit.  :-D

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bees bees bees

My lawn is a-bloom (much to the chagrin of a certain neighbor) with violas, henbit, lamium, and dandelions while there is something taller (15")  with white flowers blooming back by the golf course fence.  Add that to the mix of early tree, bulb and some perennial blooms this spring and the place is just crazy with bees!  Big bumbles, small orchards, natives and tons of hungry honeybees.  When I walked back by the golf course the buzz was remarkable. I've never seen so many bees so early in the season.  WOW. 

And talk about getting buzzed, I've been busy as a, well, you know... ;-D

Click to *whoosh* over to the posts about the VEG BEDs and  COMPOST BINs.  
And let's not forget the update on the PROPAGATION page.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

More apple, less crab

The front crabapple had grown by 4-5 feet in the 9 years I'd been here, and it was getting in trouble: dropping lots of apples into the gutter, getting too close to the top of the chimney (fire hazard), rubbing against the roof shingles, and putting pressure on the TV and phone wires that attach to that side of the house.

Front crabapple in full bloom - 2010

After the tree bloomed in 2011, I had it cut back (pros) and shaped (me).  This year due to the warm winter and exceptionally warm March, this tree is blooming a good 3 weeks earlier than last year.

Front crabapple in full bloom - 2012

It's so much more manageable now.  It's trim and tidy and still shades the front bay window and looks fabulous from inside and out.  (Two different cameras lent 2 different colors to the flowers. Odd, that.)  I don't think there could be any more blossoms on it!  The bees are loving it!

Oh hey, speaking of crabapples.  Here is a pic of the crabapple trees I brought home 4/1/2010.

And here's what they look like only 2 years later.  These 2 are Robinson crabapples and I trimmed them back last year.  Now they are only 9' tall.  Can you believe how those little sticks in pots turned into something this big in such a short amount of time?  Wow.  But --- I'm going to have to move them.  They obviously will become entirely too big for this location.  I'm thinking back behind the privacy fence to replace the crabapple I took down last fall.

Meanwhile, back in the garage, there's more *fun* with the mower to be had.  Click HERE for the latest ridiculous adventure.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Oh, this is just ducky - not

This morning I caught these two under the bird feeder.  It seemed to annoy the crows no end and the cawing and squawking was quite fierce.

This evening I heard the cawing again and managed to catch a pic of these two who had returned to forage under the feeder.  I'm going to have to nip this in the bud because ducks can tear up a lot of tender shoots when left to their own devices.

I've already had to deal with ducklings in the garage a couple of times since I've been here and don't want to have to again.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fertile crescent

April arrived carrying the same mixed bag that March left with:  Nights chill enough for frost, winds rough enough to rearrange plastic pots and dead tree branches, and cold days gloomy enough to send the most optimistic gardener into a funk.  (We really were spoiled during that odd spell of summer weather.)

Yep, must be Spring in Ohio.

The ground is still too wet to till up the rest of the veg bed or the northernmost segment of the bee ring bed that I use for vegetables.  I did rake back the leaves to let in any sunshine and dry air.  But not today.  Right now it's raining, a hard rain but, luckily, no wind.  (I'm really tired of picking up branches.)

It's been a busy week, nonetheless.  If you look to the sidebar on the right, you'll see I've updated ALL the other sanctuary blogs.  (The current post date is listed right next to the blog title.)  Click there for more pic and updates.