Monday, February 29, 2016

A Crocus Hunt

I went for a stroll next door with the beasts on a crocus hunt. I hadn't been over there in a few days. They have arrived. There are plenty more to come. I think Bubarella is going to miss the bulk of the crocus this year. Not to worry. There are thousands upon thousands of daffodils no where close to bloom and millions of minor bulbs that haven't even come up yet.

There are still thousands of snowdrops. They are on their last leg. This week will probably be it except for a few stragglers.

There are early and late blooming crocus. There are also variations in sun, shade and soil temperatures. Bulbarella will see a few crocus no doubt. There are enough on this mountain for a several weeks long bloom cycle.

Two more rows and the roadside vegetable garden will be completely dunged for the season. Weathers depending I could do my first sowing around St. Patrick's Day. We'll see.

I'll be having a little poop experiment this year. One tomato row is getting half alpaca pellets

And half horse manure. Which load of crap will grow a better tomato?

My evergreen clumping bamboo indicates we had a milder winter this year. It stayed evergreen. The last two winters it was defoliated. I hope I get some tall canes from it this year. Defoliation has led to stunted foot high new growth. The label said eight feet high. I only got four so far.

No one ever said gardening on the edge would follow the label instructions.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

It All Starts Shortly

From a distance, the barren time is still in control. A garden remains with the still standing dried grasses, a wide selection of baby evergreens for winter interest, monumental stone works and a hodgepodge of objets de. Despite all that, the overall theme is still grey and brown.

That is beginning to change. As you walk the grounds, short bursts of color pushing up from the earth are visible.

The second bloom of spring after the snowdrops, the crocus have arrived.

Spring is tiny at this point. That is big enough for the first bees.

The leaf covered forest floor is showing more and more signs of new life. Soon there will be thousands.

The short little crocus are what will lead us into the next daffodil phase.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Another Melt

They weren't completely buried. Some of the flower buds were sticking out on top of the snow. The result was some minor frost bite on the flowers that had gotten ahead of things. Or maybe they got pollinated on the one nice day they had.

It's back to spring again. The melt is on. There are bulbs popping up everywhere. There is no stopping it now.

'Arnold's promise' won't be stopped either. The bloom is on. It's looking spring like until the end of the week. Then I am seeing a chance of snow in the diagnosis for Friday. Off and on. Snow. Melt. Repeat.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Are We Done Yet?

I called ahead and was told the sun was coming out in town. It was still snowing on me. The sun was out when I got there. There was even a hint of warm contemplation. There was too much snow on the ground for spreading mulch though. I cleaned my ponds and came home where it was still cloudy, cold and breezy.

Later, the clouds began to part, later, when the sun was going down and the cold was settling back in.

Are we done for now. I need some spring. I have things to do.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Bulb Brake

Things changed. It has been snowing for the last 24 hours. The crocus closed up shop.

It had not amounted to much, half an inch at best, until this evening. Now it is snowing hard and starting to pile up.

My day was spent in lethargia, ravished by inertia. I dwelled peacefully there.

Outside the winds blew hard.

'Arnold' didn't care.

Miss Collar did consent to one short excursion. The other two wouldn't dare.

The crocus closed up and came to a halt, until it is spring again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


This is one view that gets me through the barren time. I finished the chop and drop on this slope below the roadside vegetable garden and in the sunny utility meadow yesterday during a break in the rain. The wild flower surround in the roadside vegetable garden is next. The grasses will come down in a couple more weeks. The changing season is upon us.

This is one of the main reasons I hand chop three acres of wild flowers. Thousands upon thousands of bulbs of every color and kind are waking to put on the early spring show. Many of them are quite petite, no more than three inches high. Viewing them in a thicket of four foot high dead sticks is a major detriment to the show.

The warmish temperatures in the last week have sent a clear message to the bulbs. Time to wake up. Step one in the possibility of a reliable, repeat blooming, multiplying tulip is complete. 'Negrita' has returned. For a tulip not to get eaten by some damn varmint is a feat in itself.

I  received a nice letter from the electric company. They will be in our area and doing their right of way maintenance some time in the next Eighteen Months. That sure beats the cable and phone companies for appointment windows.

It said if I should have any concerns to call and schedule a visit. Yes, I have concerns. Yes, I want an on site visit and consultation. As a matter of fact, I want to make sure you don't skip over me because my section of the utility easement is so clear and tidy. I want to take full advantage of any tree chopping you are willing to do. Cut it to the ground! Then clean it up. No chop and drop for you!

By the way, could I have the wood chips too.

The best part is I was told we are already on the "Do Not Spray" list.

A wood pecker is making wood chips down in the forest. That is a lot for a wood pecker, but not enough for me.

Our little stream is running high with all the rain. The ground is thoroughly moist.

Things are going to change before the change sets in permanent. The fine print is saying two to four inches of snow. The fine print could say that for two to four more weeks. 'Arnold' it's going to snow.

There is a garden in the utility easement up there on top at the end of the line that is about to buried in snow. It's in the last four poles. One of them is painted red. Take it as a warning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

They're Here

It takes forever for the snowdrops to reach peak bloom as they wait out each successive blast of winter. Their end is much quicker. A week of warmish and slightly sunny is about all they can handle before the fade begins. The snowdrops will be finished soon.

The good news about the bad news is the galvanized pipe changes over to PVC directly below where the pipe descends in to the ground. That means there is no need to dig a trench along the pipe as it heads towards the house. The entire U shape of pipe coming out of the well needs to be replaced. The horizontal piece is nothing but a collection of fittings and couplings. Every single one of them could break.

I'm calling the well man. He has to change the part the goes down the well shaft. He might as well do the whole thing.

They're here. The crocus have arrived. The ones that have awaken are about to get pummeled by rain and maybe buried by snow. They should have waited a few more days.

'Arnold's Promise' has also decided to come into full bloom right before the storm.

Temperatures in the mid to upper 50's is what is causing all this motion. The sun itself has been in rather short supply.

The ring of crocus around the fire pit has woken up. I'm seeing leaves of the species tulips. Both of them are subject to predation. It's always good to see them coming back.

It's also good to see them come back fat, healthy and in increased in number. Good bulbs.

They're here. I wonder how much snow I'm gonna get?

Monday, February 22, 2016

'Diane' At The Posh Estate

When there is an ample budget, you can buy big.

Without a budget I got a twig. My twig will look like 'Diane' at the Posh Estate one day.

I did however end up buying five twigs for the price of one big 'Diane'.

One day all my twigs will look like this.

Dung direct is the way to go. It is so much easier and faster than aging it in piles down below then having to screen it and tote it back up hill.

The roadside vegetable garden is almost completely dunged. The fact that it has been coming gravel free of late is the real reason why this is possible. I don't want three quarter inch road base gravel in my fluffy soil.

There was a little surprise when I got home. They popped up out of nowhere almost. I saw them coming. I wasn't expecting them to open so soon.

I need to go on a snowdrop walk the next time the weather cooperates and before it is too late. I was too pooped out for it today.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

At Least I Have Snowdrops.

Was it the fourth or fifth attempt? I lost count. There was one more try today to put the hose bib station at the well head next door back together with no drips and after a brand new hose bib had snapped off at the threads unaided and unseen by me.

It was disassembled then reassembled. The water filters were cleaned. The well pump was turned on. I heard the click from the pressure switch that shuts the pump off when the system is filled. Good sign.

Next I proceeded to flush the lines. Hmm? There is no hot water. That is very bad. Has the tankless hot water heater been sent over the edge by all the corrosion debris and grit in the water? It was already ailing. Hmm? There is no water in the dish washer. The filter underneath it needs to be cleaned. A pain, but doable.

I best go check the well head for drips. Oh Crap, Crap, Crap!!!! Another section of the old galvanized pipe has sprung a leak. I give. The whole thing is so corroded it has to be rebuilt from scratch. Now it involves digging up the water line that goes from the well head to the house.

Oh Crap, Crap, Crap!!!! I can't have hot water or a dishwasher until I have a water system with no holes. The pump was shut down one more time.

I'll think about digging a hole when it stops raining. Oh Crap!!!!!

At least I have snowdrops.

I have three weeks before Bulbarella returns and there has to be a functioning water system next door. Perhaps it is time to call the well drilling company since who knows how much of that old galvanized pipe is on the pump side of the line. I can't fix what is down that hole. Digging up the line on the house side isn't too thrilling of an idea either.

I'd rather go hunting for crocus.