Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Sweet Pea Cupani

The second attempt to grow this was successful. Good thing I held some seeds back. What I had discovered was that some things don't take well to the leftover road salts from winter snow plowing.

This year the sweet pea Cupani was planted on the new trellis with the morning glories which also succumbed shortly after germination when planted on the rickety split rail fence along the scenic byway where the road salts accumulate. My new trellis is coming in very handy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Dahlia

Thomas A. Edison is really a deep almost black purple. The camera won't pick it up.

It lives with the wild things and the going wild things in a tall flower meadow becoming.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Moving On

A gentle wind blows through. The grass bends. At times gale force winds blow through. The grass bends.

When the hibiscus start to bloom you know the mid point of summer has passed. Look at the size of the flower compared to the other branch of the plant. The plants haven't gotten much bigger over the years so much as they send up more stalks each year. The flowers have always been huge by comparison.

Butterflies and more kind bees than my failing eyes can see feed in a tall flower meadow half filled with weeds.

At this point in the summer the grasses really begin to shine. They have reached full height and can stand above the Lush even before they begin to bloom. Without a doubt the grasses have been the quickest way to add a little privacy to the gardens. The baby trees and shrubberies will take a good deal longer to achieve the same results.

Everything moves on.

Give The PETA What They Want

My flippant disregard for the pain and suffering of vermin has gotten me targeted by a small posse of anti-glue trap activists. One of them stumbled upon this post and when I responded to her grave concerns with utter disregard and a dose of sarcasm she sicced her gang of activists on me. They vomited all over the comments on that post with a torrent of profanities. They keep coming from some site where that comment thread has been posted and linked to. None of them leave links back to themselves or the site where their feeding frenzy is coming from.

Comment moderation is on until this passes.

None of them are readers of this blog. If they were they might know of my relationships with dumped dogs, loose cows, sweet kitties and every varmint these mountains have to offer. Regular readers may know I have a license to kill bugs that I have never used. They may remember when I almost stepped on my first copperhead. I didn't kill it. I flung it into the forest with a soft rake.

These gravely concerned people must have glue traps stuck to the sides of their heads and can't even bother to click on the many other posts from just this week on my dealings with a host of vermin. Glue traps bad. He is an evil monster.

Here's a little sample of their persausive arguments to make me change my evil ways.

From Cid:  Wow, throwing live mice into the trash while they're stuck to glue. I may hate mice, but at least I'd have the balls to end its life if its trapped and going to painfully die. Fucking Sociopath.

From James Kinley:  You shouldn't be allowed near live animals. I shudder to think how you'd be as a parent with that kind of attitude. 

From rikia1433:  Fucking dirtbag. /b/ is going to have a field day with you. BTW, "Freedom To Speak" - hahaha. What have you got to hide by moderating comments?

I used to watch you, because I am a gardener too. But after discovering you're a fucking prick of a person who tortures small animals, I won't any more. Also, you can't kill mice "as you see fit", I'm sure you're breaking a couple of animal cruelty laws by torturing them. Fucking animal abusing dickhead.

I think this /b/ is a 4Chan forum where they may be coming from, but I'm not up on that. If rikia1433 has ever read this blog they have never left a comment until now. They certainly had nothing to say about all the dogs I gather up around here.

Well let me tell the anti-glue trap brigade a little something. It is true. I have no empathy what so ever for the suffering of mice. They are vermin to me. When the cats catch them and play with them until they stop moving I do not intervene. When they chew holes in my house to get inside and take up residence in my truck they are going to die. I do not care how or how long it takes.

In their overwrought hysteria that makes me a baby psycho ready to turn serial killer at any moment. It would be better they think to quickly kill any still live mice stuck to the traps. I could crush them with a rock or maybe decapitate them with my hedge clippers or pruners. Maybe I could stab them with a dull rusty knife or drown them in a bucket of water. Wouldn't that be fun.

No, after five years of the continual and never ending battle to keep the vermin outside where they belong and where they can live a happy life undisturbed by me, I am completely indifferent to the suffering of mice stuck to a glue trap. I have no qualms or remorse about throwing them in the trash. That's just how it is. Humans are complicated that way.

If these anti-glue trap activists think that makes me evil, the local culture in these mountains would completely freak them out.

So Jordon you started this. Your vulgar efforts and grave concerns will be rewarded. I can get you a glue trap with a live mouse attached that you and your posse can stick where the sun don't shine.

And because I really am a nice guy, I'll even let you make one comment each. There are two rules though. No name calling and no profanity. That will take some thought and effort. If any of you can accomplish that your comment will be published.

Good Luck.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Red Doors

It is getting close to the annual West Asheville Garden Stroll. My volunteer duties still include picture taking. That means I get a sneak peak at things.

Another gardener knows about the wonders of wood chip mulch.

A different kind of impatiens.

I was there at the exact right time to see the bloom spikes glow.

Another red door. I don't think my eyes are deceiving me. This old garage looks slightly askew.

Stone lips.

Reflections of the eclectic neighborhoods of West Asheville.

A red house with a green door.

There is so much to see on a slow stroll through the neighborhoods. This is only a small sample of the 17 gardens on this year's stroll.

Friday, July 27, 2012

High Summer

The katydids have begun. For the next six weeks at least the nights will be filled with the quite loud, rasping, cricket like sound of katydids looking to mate. I will know it is autumn when the quiet nights return.

In the meantime much blooming remains to be done.

The family Asteraceae wakes new members to fill high summer and take us to the edge of winter.

One day a cozy cabin may be surrounded by a more garden like setting instead of what looks like an unmowed hay field. Maybe. Organizing chaos is not a simple task. I may need to get ruthless and I don't know if I have it in me. Perhaps by doing it slowly it may not seem so ruthless.

But it will get done. The gardener presses on because that is what gardeners do.

The 'aina's dress will be transformed for a short lifetime, holding back the forest until it once again returns.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Training

Raccoons number five and six are proving more elusive. There was a trap malfunction two nights ago. The tall piece of tupperware with a big scoop of peanut butter inside was removed from the trap and licked clean without triggering the trap. Last night my invitation to a sweet corn dinner was not accepted, unless you count the mice. The hunt continues.

It is a very different experience showing baby kitties the world outdoors for the first time when I know mean varmints are around than trying to encourage half wild baby kitties to come inside when it is starting to get cold. The curiosity level is similar, but the fear level in the new kitties is much lower. Somehow I don't see that as an advantage for them in the wilderness.

Little Button checks for movement. He has the right instincts. They had been outside at least four times before they were willing to go off the deck out into all that green Lush and have a look around.

Miss Dina romps. I suppose she is a tortoiseshell of sorts without the orange. I have just never seen this color combo in a cat before. I wonder if this pattern has a name.

They are only 11 weeks old at this point. It will be a couple more months and a couple more pounds before I consider letting them out for short unsupervised visits. Miss Collar has met them three times now. She is not friendly. At least she isn't mean.

We have the rest of the summer and fall for Miss Collar to get used to the notion that she has family again. When the kittens are big enough, taking garden strolls together will be a good way for them bond.

And they will need to bond. Come winter all four of us will be living in the cozy cabin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I heard the helicopter overhead both days as I was leaving for work. When I got home I was told a helicopter had been buzzing around in circles for hours. They must be looking for pakalolo. Maybe, but there are any number of other possible explanations. It certainly can't be easy looking for weed from way up there with all these weeds way down here. The Lush is five feet tall at this point.

The second day I was told the helicopter hovered for quite some time right in Bulbarella's view off the deck. That would put the helicopter right about here in the new hole in the forest where my dead hemlocks used to be. Some people might find multiple large piles of horse shit and a new big open sunny spot in the forest of interest.

But come on man. Does Hale Mana look like the kind of cozy cabin where someone would be growing pakalolo? Sure the profuse number of flowers hints at signs of gardening and monumental stone creations may indicate an ethereal artistic bent, but pakalolo. No way.

A bountiful roadside vegetable garden doesn't mean the owner has the munchies either.

My Long Island Cheese squash has finally set a fruit that looks like a keeper after multiple abortions. I was beginning to worry I wasn't going to get a thing from all this rampant vine growth. I planted a small pumpkin too and it is having the same troubles holding onto fruit. I have no idea what the problem is. The Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato squash is making plenty squash.

The zucchini are doing what zucchini do. They are like the weeds around here, unstoppable.

The first red tomato is ready for harvest. I am expecting an extended tomato season since I planted another row nearly a month later.

There is no weed in my roadside vegetable garden. The herbs are for culinary, not medicinal purposes. No pakalolo here.

It was on the Asheville news tonight. There was a pot bust in Haywood County. The helicopters found four grow sites including places in Fines Creek and Turkey Creek. Fines Creek is the closest named place to me. Turkey Creek is the stream in the cove directly below me and would be where my little stream feeds into.

Damn revenuers! This madness needs to stop. It is an absolute failure and waste of my tax dollars. Let the people have their weed.

Sometimes I wish the world would just keep on driving and pass me by.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Raccoon Number Four Was Mean

It hissed, growled and lunged at me. That is the thanks I get for a peanut butter treat with a surprise ending. I had to pick up the trap with a pitchfork. As you can see some tupperware was sacrificed in the trapping. Raccoons number five and six were seen cavorting on the deck in the dark light of morning. Only two more to go? Or am I catching the same three again? I know the first two rubbed a patch of fur off their foreheads trying to escape. This one isn't numbers one or two.

The trap has been reset with a peanut butter treat in a tall piece of tupperware again. That seems to work and I forgot to pick up some fresh corn on the way home. The tupperware will have to be sacrificed for a good cause. My sweet corn is fixing to bloom. Maybe I will be raccoon free long enough to eat my own corn. Only two more to go and it is another month until the sweet corn is ready.

Damn varmints! I'm thinking of buying a gun.

The blue morning glories have started to bloom. I thought these were going to be moon flowers. Oh well. I had extra and planted them in a few other locations.

La, la, lala, only two more racoons to go. Oh dear god. Collar no! Stay away from that thing. There is a skunk at the top of my driveway and Collar is crouched ten feet away watching.

I figured as much. Two ground wasp nests had been dug and one paper wasp nest had been deflated in the last week or so. I knew a wasp eater was around. It looks like a baby skunk. That can only mean there is bound to be more than one around. Oh dear god!

Damn varmints.

La, la, lala, I get to have such pretty weeds in the wilderness and no one will complain that my garden is illegal and make me mow it down.

But why do I have so many annoying varmints this year?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Varmint Hell

There is a raccoon or coons still on the loose. Two nights in a row the trap has been tripped and all the bait food has been eaten. It must have methodically reached through the wires and pulled it out morsel by morsel. The trap itself had been moved from one end of the deck to the other. Just for fun it dug holes in a few of the potted plants.

Not only that, last night it got in the bed of my truck and ransacked the garbage. Sunday night I gather the trash for delivery to the collection site Monday morning. This is the first time any varmint has ripped the garbage to shreds. It left its little coon foot prints all over my windshield. I know it's a raccoon.

This is a bit concerning. Either I am dealing with a very smart raccoon or one too large to fit inside the trap. There could also be a tremendous herd of mice assisting in eating all the food and quite capable of fitting through the cage wires.

I needed a bait that wouldn't tear easily and fit through the cage wires. No corn cobs around. No apples. I settled on a big scoop of peanut butter in a tall piece of tupperware. If this raccoon can get at that through a tripped trap it will mean it has some pretty long arms. We will need to be very afraid.

Allium tanguticum 'Balloon Bouquet' blooms by the front entry to the cozy cabin. I wonder if there are any plants that will deter raccoons.

Damn Varmints!

The last two days I have also seen mices scurrying in the cab of my truck while I have been driving. Not good. I am not afraid of them, but who knows what reaction would ensue if one of them jumped on me while I was driving.

Five glue traps are now placed in the truck. I already caught two mices in there last week. At least the cozy cabin is mouse free, I think, for now. I sealed the hole I found a couple months ago and haven't had troubles since.

Damn varmints!

I haven't bothered to find out who is nesting in the rafters of the service entrance porch roof. The nest is made with a lot of moss. That should be a clue. The poop is piling up and getting a bit annoying. Some other varmint may have noticed. Those dark spots on the bottom left are the end of another poop trail on the back porch. I think I saw one of the Least Weasels at the top of my drive the other day. It moved too fast to really tell. A weasel would enjoy a fresh bird snack.

It's a veritable zoo around here and we are short on zoo keepers.

Damn varmints! Can't you poop some where else.

My little gas furnace does a self check when power is restored after an outage. Last time we had a momentary outage in a thunder storm the furnace started flashing an error code indicating it could not ignite. I read the owners manual and my two choices where a blocked vent and call the repairman. I checked the vent and except for two tiny turds on the inside end of the vent it was completely open. No blockage.

Unless. Those white streaks on the side of the cozy cabin coming from under the eaves are the residue generated from bats roosting in there. That longest white streak is directly over the furnace vent. The intake air may have sucked bat turds all the way into the furnace and coated the ignitor. I'll need to have another look before I am willing to call a repairman.

I really need to climb up there and add some heavy gauge wire on the bottom of the air vent holes for the roof. In the building process that wire went at the top and the vent holes make perfect little bat houses with wire tops for them to hook their little claws in.

Damn varmints!

I've got raccoons on the decks, mice in the truck, bats in the belfry, birds in the rafters, turds all over and woe is me I got chiggers in my drawers. I must have gotten 20 plus chigger bites on both upper thighs yesterday while I was weeding. I'm used to a few chigger bites on occasion. This many is just overkill.

Damn varmints! I need me some varmint voodoo.

My amorphophallus, Voodoo Lily is getting big. I borrowed it as a tiny pea sized bulb at least four years ago while visiting a public garden. This particular species makes small bulbs on the leaves that will drop to the ground when the plant dies back to make new plants. So I made my own new plant.

Along with the Lush comes the livestock. Normally I pay them no mind. This year they are being rather annoying. I wonder if the two late freezes reduced the raccoons normal wild food supply. Or could it be the neighbor who is clearing three miles of old road next door is scaring all the varmints over here.

The bat colony is growing. I really need to put a stop to that. Their poop stinks and the pee could be eating away at my siding. I'll clean the back porch at some point. The chiggers will be gone with the seasons.

Damn varmints!

Right now it is varmint hell.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Morning Glory Blues

A small cabin in the forest is slowly being surrounded by flowers. A good number of them are blue. Blue and white together make my favorite combination. If only I had the ruthless dedication to stick to that theme.

But other colors creep in. The trellis behind the coral colored gladiolas has both blue and white morning glories on it. I wait for them to bloom.

Will the morning glory vines bloom while the blue bush morning glories and the white Shasta Daisy are still in bloom. That would be nice.

I looked close and the bush morning glories are setting seed. The pollinators are making use of them. I like an annual that will self sow. It eliminates me having to work at germination. We will see what happens.

A small cabin in the forest is slowly being surrounded by flowers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mid Summer Flowers

More of the cleome from seeds cast into the wild to take their chances have reached blooming size. It will be interesting to see if they return on their own next year.

Eryngium yuccifolium stands above.

The Gloriosa daisies bloom in profusion.

Shasta Daisy with a compliment of Black-Eyed Susan.

Echinacea comes in light and dark.

The grasses grow tall. It is a bit early for them to bloom. They wait for the end and the crescendo of the tall flower meadow.

Campanula americana sits at the edge of the forest.

Button and Dina, eat, play and grow. Today they had their first little foray outside.