Welcome to Growbox Hill

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Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gettin ready for summer

Yep, summertime.. and the living is easy... Well, getting ready is work, hehehee.

Yesterday was a lazy day of just enjoying my home. Wandered around and took some pics of the irises that are in full bloom. Need to seriously cut back some more of the bushy plant and trim a few branches off the bottom of the pine that they are under.
Blech, I honestly have a fuckton of trimming to do. The raspberry bed is buried under tall grass and frigging weedy trees again. Under all the pines needs to be cleaned up a lot. The whole fenceline has bits that need cutting, and the dead fruit tree needs to be removed. And the fruit orchard needs tending- good news is I can do some of it now.
Wandered down to the sanctuary to see where I really want to set in the first set of marigolds. I got heaps to go in and after much dithering around about where they will do the most good, I've decided to just stick with my original plan, sigh. While I was down there I took time to stop and smell the roses. The pink ones on the fence are bursting into bloom and already fattening up. I realized I'm really not pleased with the willow starts at all, and the rest of them need to be cut down. And I need to get into the roses more and cut out more dead stuff.

Today was pretty nice out. Went down to the pole barn and looked the lawnmower over well. Yeah, she probably needs a tuneup, but I figured I could eek out another mowing first. Everything was so snug and in place I didn't want to tear it apart yet. So I mowed the front yard and the back of the garage. If it isn't too wet, I'll do the backyard tomorrow. But I do need to pick up the stuff to give the thing a proper oil change and replace the fuel filter at least. Then run it out of fuel mowing, replace the fuel filter, then after shutdown, do the oil change.
Anywho, less notes to myself... Mowed the front yard- at least now it probably looks like someone lives here. And those solar lights I picked up I staked out along some of the trees lining the drive. Close enough in so that I can mow around them :) I was smart enough this time to grab the shootin earmuffs to wear while mowing. Really helped with the sound. And mowing around the pines reminded me again that I need to do a ton of trimming. The easement drive strip is looking good- Dave weedwhacked the whole drive side the other day, and I mowed in both edges as close as I dared today.
Weeded out a huge pile of tall grass outside the dining room window. Ugh, that is such a sore spot. But I pulled back all the danger line to the poppy, and set the rods aside for reusing. Found a lot of broken pottery in the tall grass- I tossed it all into a bucket so it can be used again in the bottoms of other pots. Decided to plant all the dill in on the house side of the walk, why not, it needed planting. Realized that the whole cement block and wires area is concrete in quite a bit more than I originally thought. Much like discovering the true line on the rest of the herb garden. Digging around in the area kind of made me think that maybe I should seriously reconsider my original idea of decking over the whole area. I can really sculpt in the concrete and walkway with stones and still have a lot of room on the house side for planting in good stuff too. I still have a ton of cleanup to do first, and the next corner of grass raked up will get dumped there to smother.

And of course, that means I need to make some stepping stones.. Good thing I picked up a couple bags of quickcrete and have an assortment of stone molds. And a bunch of fun stuff to use in the molds.
I have a large hexagon that I want to make several of to place down at the corner of veggie row. Eventually a bee hive will be going there, and I want there to be a nice area around it.
I want to make up several more of the round knotwork stones to finish up the line over the LP line and fill out the area a bit. Then it's a matter of encouraging in stone moss.
And several rectangular molds that I have a pair of. These will work in the permanent walkway in the herb garden.
Trying to do just one stone at a time is a real PITA. The small bags of crete come 60 pounds, plus a half gallon of water.. Wait, what? I want to make one stone, garg.. I have collected enough molds now that I can use a whole bag at once and have molds left over. The hexagon and round knotwork molds are actual stone molds.. The rectangle pair is really for making sand castles. I picked up a smaller and deeper pair too, but I'm not needing those now. Picked them up at the end of last summer for super clearance, less than a buck a piece. They are even sturdier than the other molds, and deeper. I also have a knotwork edger that I will prep up this time- I do want to use some more of those, though it's a back burner kind of thing. And as a third life to my recycled food cans.. I've used several for planting stuff in, and now they are dirty and piling up. I figure I will have a few of those handy for whatever might not work out in the molds.  But I figure I've never mixed up a whole bag before, better to have more containers handy to fill that find myself short and needing to prep a mold while the crete is already mixed.
And for set ins I have a heap of glass cabs and beer caps- I think I'm going to set the beer caps into the hexagons. Cabs of course will be set into the circle knotwork, I've done several in the past. Reminds me of when the tank first got set in.. I laid over the fresh line mark with the stones. Then when the maple got trimmed, one chunk came down right over the tank and broke a stone- but the buried line was A-ok. Whew.

So now it's beer o'clock on Thursday. Mama N gave me some grace this morning and I got the rest of the yard mowed since it was still dry. Of course that took hours, heh. But the yard as much as I love it kind of shaggy so all the little flowers bloom looks so nice when it's all mowed. Hauled a mostly filled wheelbarrow of weeds that I yanked out of the herb garden along with heaping over with weeds from the lower FOH garden to the compost heap. The lower FOH almost does not look like a weed patch. I think I'm just going to keep mowing it for now and concentrate on the upper FOH.
Got three containers of marigolds planted down by the firepit, each one holds 18 toilet paper tubes. I put in four patches- one on each side of the entrance down to the pond, and one on each side of the top of the circle. Not much, but if I keep up with planting in patches and seeding in elsewhere, I'll have a full border in 2-3 years. Learned this year that doing plugs is a major PITA, so next year I will try something different. Maybe try some wintersowing and milk jugs. So it's a start. I still have two more containers of marigolds, but I'm thinking I want to plant those in elsewhere.
About then it started sprinkling. I figured my yard time was up. Time to get into the garage and make some stepping stones. Found out one 60 bag of mix filled the four molds I wanted to use wonderfully. I put in a bit too much water, but I find it makes it way easier to handle for filling the molds. Especially because I like to set things in the bottom of the mold. Yeah, it makes the stones weaker by a bit doing that, but it's not like these things will be seeing hard traffic. And if one cracks, oh well, we'll live.
By the time that was done and I got the equipment cleaned up, it looked like the light sprinkle was just gonna stay light... Soooo.... upstairs for sewing or more yardwork? I went with tackling the raspberry bed. Shit, the tall grass filling it is almost as tall as I am, you can't even see the raspberries. I pulled out a heaping wheelbarrow of grass from the bee patio and the front of the bed. And cut a pile of starts off that motherlorn weed tree I've been fighting ever since we moved in. By then I was getting tired of yanking hard grass roots and flicking ticks off of me. The weeds get to die back for a day in their heap, and so do the tree cuttings. That whole area would be so much easier to deal with if it wasn't full of gravel and tree things that just won't die. But now I have access to all the raspberries, which is good since they will be ripening soon, all of them are in fruity bud.

And speaking of fruity bud... We are blessed with a lot of it right now. The mullberry tree is acting like it has to set double fruit this year to make up for last year. All the orchard is well set with fruit too- even the peach has several going on. All these yummy fruits budding up makes me well pleased about picking time- though yipes, we need to get our butts in gear to do something with all that fruit! And the tree that hasn't produced fruit before is fruiting now- still not positive what it is- the fruit buds kind of look like apples but kind of look like rounded pears too.

I think I have identified the little tree things that grow behind the garage. Sassafras. Like the kind you make beverages from. The leaves match perfect to a few ID sites, and smell like lemons. I haven't let any of them get big enough to produce fruit though. But huh, perhaps I should take my time with the things and harvest some roots and bark in season instead of just chopping the whole thing down. And I can make my own file powder for gumbo. I hate okra so hmm....

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