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Welcome to Growbox Hill
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Please for some rain. Drought abounds.

Nothing has been going on here... cept watering. And watering some more. It's been dry- we have gotten under half an inch in the last two months. All the patches of rain that are showing up are either skirting to the north or south of us. Sometimes within hearing and viewing distance. It's frustrating to have to run the sprinkler on the garden when you can literally see clouds dropping rain to the south of you.
And we had heat.. dear heavens heat. Old world ways- the box fan from the basement works great. New world tec- we have a little portable AC for the great room. Between the two and a lot of other fans helping air flow, it hasn't been bad in the house.

Skeeters are down with all the dry.. But the ticks.. UGH, I HATE TICKS!!! I have to spray myself to go water the garden- otherwise there is sure to be a tick or two on me when I come back inside. And I'm only out there for a few minutes while I set up the sprinkler head :( I was under the impression that they die back like skeeters in the hot dry- but apparently they just wait for the only moving liquid bag to go by, gross. I must start a relentless program of anti-tick plants in the yard. Good thing I'm already planning on a lot of mint and marigolds, need to add in lemony plants too.
Once we and/or the neighbors get chickens in, that will help too. I think they really did help keep ticks down- chickens love ticks apparently. I'm currently working on what wild birds really like ticks and how to help encourage that ecosystem too. And I got the green light from at least one neighbor for setting up a bathouse.
I really frigging hate ticks. But I will say at least the ones by me don't latch on instantly at the moment, small blessings.

Been so dry the pond down by the intersection is quickly becoming a mud pit. It was full of water and a thick sea of lily pads last year, and now it's just brown muck with a green watery scum on it. You can notice it on our pond too- you can see the area between where the cattails are green and where the water should be and where the water level is. There are standing islands of lily pads instead of floating drifts. I wouldn't have been able to mow down the aisle to the pond last year, but this year I figured it was dry enough, and yeah, it was, almost to the mud line.
Guess I should take advantage of that and start filling in the area with some scrap wood. Perhaps those scrap pallets could see a tad more life that way.  Use a couple long logs as cross filler, and overthatch by finally attending the willow mess in the sanctuary.

Been keeping my eye on the Drought Monitor, and watched my region crawl from abnormally dry to moderate drought in the last 10 days. Specifically by me, we are a skinny island of abnormally dry still- probably due to the dozens of little ponds in the area really help keep the aquifer up.
 We didn't allow the boys fireworks. I was pretty damn bummed by that. But we set off a couple rockets, and they just launched too high and sparkled too much. I was afraid of catching something on fire. So they just had some spitting tanks instead. Our neighbors on a few sides weren't as fearful as I.. and yeah, made me bite my nails all weekend cuz of it.
We have had a couple casualties in the yard.. A couple of peppers in the veg row. All of the seed papers- though I'm thinking that's more due to current conditions than unsuitability. I'm not sure if any of the more outlying plantings have survived.. Everything has been so tickky that I haven't been wandering the yard much.. And heavens knows the grass is too dang dry to be worth mowing. And we have been under regular ozone alerts- don't mow you yard days. Which sucks, because I could really use some more grass mulch in the herb garden. Makes me extra thankful for the plastic and grass mulch we did lay down- without that, the entire gardening efforts for the year would be a total wash.

As an out an about water thing.. My love and I finally had to get the car in to be fixed. While it was in the shop, we wandered around a lot of the main strip/mall area. And I have to say.. I was pleased by how little watering of grass I saw going on. There were some watered patches of green, but apparently my local community cares more about resources than pretty lawns. A nice change from being in the big city and suburbs.

I have a dear friend that lives in AZ. He deals a lot with fire stuff. When my love and I first moved here, my friend gave me this whole educational lesson about fire zones and safety in the yard. I kind of laughed him off because I live in such a water rich area. But this year.. Deities forethought I'm glad we got the yard cleaned up of fire hazards. Not only is it a good idea for things like tick and insect control, varmin control, and less possible water and storm damage.. It's also right frigging handy to pay mind to when keeping the yard clean.. just in case you get drought conditions. I sleep easier at night knowing my first zone is cleaned up and all the debris is on the other side of a fire lane/AKA easement drive. I'm glad I decided to cut in a wide path from the easement drive to the pond. It could make a difference on if a pumping truck from the fire department works well or is tangled up.

Something that has shown progress in the dry weather.. The use of Ammonia to kill weeds in the driveway cracks. Man oh man.. When weeds that haven't sucked up moisture in forever get in contact with ammonia and they suck that liquid up gladly.. and death ensues. I did a test by my office first. And now I laid in a gallon over a bit of area on the other side of the house. And I noticed that where I did test spots on that side, those were already dead spots. I know I could pick up a bottle of commercial killer. But I'm willing to be patient and use a friendlier killer. And I've noticed that since I've started using ammonia to kill weeds, the local critters have been away from the house more. Soon, I will get the cracks areas done and it will be time to move on to a more experimental method. Gonna try attaching a gallon of ammonia up to a sprayer head that feeds from the hose. See how well that method works. Of course, I will add some safe dye to the ammonia so I can tell when the pure mix is thinning out to just water running through the system. I'm all good with a wide spray death area in driveways. Easy enough to edge those areas in with hardy mints and such. And Ammonia is cheap. I can pick up a gallon of roundup for 10-15 bucks depending on the strength and packaging. But I can pick up a gallon of ammonia for under three bucks. If I have to apply twice, that's still under six bucks. I have found a couple of trouble plants that are requiring a third direct shot of ammonia..
Babble babble, time to post...

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