Monday, February 28, 2011


That is when the lovely contestant Hale Mana will go before the judges. It could have been Tuesday, but I had already planned to go to another class at bug school. After all this time I can wait another day. On Thursday a phone will get hooked up. So they say. I know they need to get a phone line to my pole first. Maybe it is an easy procedure for them. The phone line is only two poles away.

I would have rather been painting, but it kept spritzing rain ahead of the thunder and lightning and downpours that arrived this afternoon. I needed something to do and it has been a long while since any attention was paid to The Wall, so I went underneath, out of the rain, to tidy up in anticipation of more rock stacking to come.

One of the patio sculptures had been telling me for some time it wanted to be reconfigured. Then two of the larger stones fell over in the freeze-thaws. I tended to that in between spritzes. Ideally the stones would be on a gravel base, but I plan to have a planting pocket in a future stone floor around the sculpture. I sank them a bit deeper in the ground. It will make for a nice garden of miniatures.

Two more stones, a bit of shuffling and a whole new look.

The basement patio is a leaf magnet. I set all the leaves free in the strong gusty wind. The minor erosion, mostly from me crawling around under there for one process or another was scooped back up the hill and off of the fabric behind the wall.

The upper wall needs to be topped off adding about another six inches in height. The ceiling of the basement patio needs to be primed and painted. That will make a fine early summer project. You can see the underneath light on the ceiling in this picture. It is a larger version of the porch lights and will make a sunburst pattern of light on the ceiling.

What I really need is a cafe table and two chairs. It may not be finished, but there is no reason not to enjoy the space now.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Now Is A Perfectly Good Time

We are back to warm. Near 70 degree warm. The crocus like it. It was also a good day to rough up the strawberries and give them a dose of chicken manure fertilizer and some mushroom compost. I want plump juicy berries.

I have been continuing to chop down the dead dried remnants in little spurts. The front entry beds are clean except for the Miscanthus sinensis 'Remnants'. I don't trust this warm. I am not even sure I approve of this warm this soon. The dried grass can stay for a while longer for, is winter over, interest.

That little yellow dot to left of the well head are the crocus above. I suppose I should get more. That is not much of a display in the bigger picture.

If my simple theory was going to work there was no sense in waiting to make the basement patio lights more flush. Much more better. Now they have a much less pronounced tilt up which is better for shedding rain from the electric box. I am not annoyed with them anymore.

A couple of shrubberies jumped in my cart while I was getting various farm poos and mushroom compost for the roadside vegetable garden. Two more Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Golden Mop' were planted next to the lone one in front of the cabin.

Don't do this at home folks. You should make a proper bed free of weeds and mulched before planting instead of creating the bed around the plants afterwords like I am doing here. I just can't help myself.

I so look forward to the temporary power pole and electric line disappearing. I have looked at this eyesore for almost four years now. The very moment it is gone it will be transformed into a Cornus kousa. Previously I had planted a Aesculus parviflora, Bottlebrush Buckeye in this front bed. Now I think it will get too big for the space so I am going to move it to a undetermined new home.

More colors of crocus are showing up in the ridge top garden. There is evidence that they have self seeded over the years. There is also the possibility that they were moved by accident when something else was relocated. Imagine digging a whole on Bulbhilla when the bulb foliage is all gone. You are lucky not to hit a bulb of some sort.

I often hear "I don't remember planting that there." Whatever her methods, Bulbarella gets results.

This collection follows along the lines of Elizabeth's advice from Gardening While Intoxicated to dig a single hole and stuff it full of bulbs. None of that spacing nonsense. Go for immediate drama.

It was a perfectly good time to get a little gardening done, to get a little zen before I call the inspector man in the morning.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Crocus Have Arrived

The cold ended as abruptly as it arrived. It was a most pleasant day. I went to look. The crocus in the ridge top garden had not opened in the cold of the morning. Then a surprise. The yellow crocus that fell out of the ground at Client #1's and ended up in my front driveway bed were in bloom. A solitary bulb has multiplied quite a bit over the years. Look at all those buds in waiting.

I took the time on a pleasant day to hand mow the wildflower surround of the roadside vegetable garden. I sneak in little garden chores when I can.

Then it was time to install the last two lights in the basement patio. The first one was a pain. They have a light sensor mechanism in the base to keep them off during daylight. This little square box interfered with the lights sitting flush on the electric mounting box. After the inspection - if they pass - I will take them off and glue a little piece of wood in the base the same depth as the light sensor on the opposite side to help them sit flush. Right now they droop a little and it annoys me.

But that's it. Hale Mana ( Hall A Mawn a - perhaps that will help ) is ready for inspection. A state of confusion ensued. What am I supposed to do now?

I went next door for a cup of coffee. I can go for a stroll. Maybe the warm has opened the crocus. Indeed it has. The crocus are here.

This is the new bulb podge planting in a space opened up by turning old log sections into firewood. A lot of the new purchases have ended up in here. Buy a few bulbs every year and before you know it you have a Bulbapaloozathon.

It is certainly a good way to break the spell of winter in a forest that will remain naked for another two whole months.

Doing nothing didn't last long. It was a most pleasant day, not to be left to waste. There was a project I could work on.

I was having second thoughts, but now that I have put a pattern in it and it has grown, I am liking the wine bottle edging more.

I will put it in on the left side too to the beginning of the garden access road. I think I will also use the wine bottle edging on the shores of the Lake of the Floating Turd Blossoms. Repetition is a major component of good landscape design.

Let the gardening begin ..... and the rest of the painting.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Daffodil Progress

I probably don't need to worry about things breaking dormancy too soon. After plenty wind and another dash of rain in the night it stayed cool, kept blowing and has now decided to turn frigid. There was a hard frost Wednesday morning and the lows keep grasping at freezing.

Not to discount the sun and warm that has been equally present. It has definitely set the daffodils in motion. They are popping up all over. That is to be expected on Bulbhilla.

The early bloomers are showing some bud.

The mid season bloomers are showing some leaf.

There are still thousands of daffodils in hiding.

The stroll was brief. Two weeks of warmish has damaged our winter shield. The wind did not help. Even the Spots thought it too cold and dashed back inside when I headed in.

Hundreds of crocus are also beginning to appear.

Some contemplate blooming. Even though I have also checked in the morning, I have yet to see one open. Maybe they do not sense any pollinators about.

This new cold could prolong the snowdrops even more while I wait for the real show to begin.

I did manage to get one exterior light installed. The cool and wind deterred me from continuing with the remaining two. There is always tomorrow. I went back inside and rechecked the wiring of the fixtures with double switches. They were fine.

A large grit and sediment filter with a flush valve was added at the well head. Now there are two filters for the water system. I even put in my ground level rain gutters. If the inspector man says I have to have gutters I will point to the gravel trench in the drip line of the roof that is under laid with heavy duty pond quality plastic. That is my gutter. The downspout is hiding under that rock.

Progress is always incremental. Eventually it all adds up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Down To The Wires

I'll have to look at my list to be sure, but I think all that stands between me and calling for a final inspection is three exterior lights. I think I will make that call on Monday. It will give me time to double check and tidy up a bit. My loft ladder has not arrived yet. I hope they won't take points off for that. I'll have the engineer's drawing on hand just in case.

Today the water line entering the cabin was insulated and the gas line was bonded. I took the picture before I ran the ground wire. The water spigot had to be extended outside of an eight inch diameter metal duct piece. Inside, the water line was wrapped in a black foam pipe insulation cover and then the whole thing was filled with spray foam. It took a while to get that duct fashioned properly to be a half a pipe against the main girder with flanges for attachment and a full circle of pipe below.

I even took the time today to suck a piece of string through the buried pipe put in for the phone line with the vacuum. If all goes well the utilities will be turned on soon.

Hopefully I will get an occupancy permit on the first try. Getting that permit does not however mean work is finished. Is work ever finished? There are more than a few things to attend to before I can sit back and say,"It is done."

When I am living in Hale Mana though, I won't have to travel back and forth. It will be easier to just get up and tend to things. A little paint here. Stack a few rocks there. Sort through this rubbish pile. Hang a picture there.

The inspector man must enter the realm of Hale Mana. The stage will be set. Let the gods and goddesses of Ku'ulei 'Aina work their magic on the inspector man.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Thought I Saw A Daffodil

There are still snowdrops of course. They have an amazingly long bloom time. They are not daydrops.

I wandered far from the mountain to Mills River and the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station for a nursery management seminar and credits for my license to kill bugs. There are fields of shrubberies there. Most are still bare.

A bright yellow border of Jasminum nudiflorum was almost shocking in the mostly brown landscape.

And I saw another bright spot of yellow at the far end of a lower dirt parking lot off in the corner and out of the landscape. A clump of daffodils was blooming in the weeds.

Around the corner from the side entrance I entered, at the main door, even more daffodils bloomed in beds in dire need of some mulching. And this is where I come to learn about preventative and cultural methods of weed control.

The research station could use a gardener to maintain the place, but at least I saw some daffodils in bloom.

The snowdrops will keep me company on the mountain top while I wait for the crocus, the ever expanding 10,000 daffodils and the parade of minor bulbs.

Spring creeps ever closer.

Could winter really be over? I'd hate to be lulled into warm complacence then get smacked with a big arctic blast unprepared.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Quite

The morning was spent at a new client's. Two retaining walls were built on the slope above a circular drive creating a three tiered and sizable planting area. This will be a fun project. The request was to attract the birds and the bees. I can do that.

The afternoon saw more rocks stacked and an exterior light installed at the service entrance. I painted before hand including the electric mounting box for the light so it will blend in. The prep work was done to bond the gas line to the extra grounding screw in the meter box where the electric supply to the cabin comes in. Randy do you know anything about bonding gas lines? I hope this is what I am supposed to do, ie run a ground wire from the metal gas line to the grounding bar in the meter box.

It was much cooler today after a dash of rain in the night. I went to check on the crocus.

I think one of my next projects in the wild cultivated garden is to start gathering up or chopping into firewood more of these stray log sections that litter the place. Regular maintenance is really starting to get this place in shape in a wild cultivated sort of way. Less clutter would be nice I think.

Logs and stumps are another matter. The fallen logs in particular are so much a part of the ambiance of the garden. They really say the gardeners just came in and started planting in the forest.

A bulb podge is emerging in a new bed created by removing a bunch of the old log sections. Give Bulbarella bare ground and she will fill it. Crocus join some of the allegedly perennial species tulips and what look to be some fancy hybrid tulips too. They didn't get et up. That's a start.

Not quite. There are more flower buds, but nobody opened in the cool of the day.

I found another item to do before I call the inspector man. The main water line needs to be insulated where it comes out of the ground to go into the cabin. I intended to do that all along. I just thought it might be better to do it before the inspector man comes nosing around. It is suggested in the code book. Once that is done I could even finish gravel the drainage path for the roof water to the buried drain line.

I'm not quite ready to call for inspection. I want to try to minimize potential rejection before hand.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Looking For Crocus

This February warm spell is showing no signs of leaving anytime soon. It is hard to decide if this is a good thing to enjoy and take advantage of, or something to worry about that can make the plants break their dormancy before the time is right. It can still get cold and snow again. It should get cold and snow again.

The garden to be is calling out in this warm. Thankfully there is plenty of cleanup type work that can be done when there is no snow on the ground. That should help keep me busy enough and prevent me from planting anything in the near future.

The garden to be is much bigger than my garden on Maui was. I probably should confine it to the front forty since I will be staff at the much larger wild cultivated garden next door. After all these years thinking about it, how the new garden will flow is really coming into focus.

For now there are other things to attend to. The tire tracks over the drain field from the tree removal were roughed up. Hopefully it will rain tonight and blend it back in before the environmental inspector man comes. I don't want no questions. The answer is rocks.

I gathered rocks while I was down there to add to the short wall to raise the soil level over the sewer line. I won't add more dirt until after the environmental inspector man says I can. The answer will be that women who fussed at me said I might have to dig it up.

One garbage disposal was finally installed. It really is pretty simple .... if you have the right sized parts. I also added shutoff valves to the dishwasher and ice maker water lines while I was under there. That's pretty simple too .... if you have the right size parts. It seems the different plumbing parts manufacturers at Lowes call the same size threads different sizes. Why do they do that? Just to annoy me?

Enough with the plumbing. This warm spell is bound to make the crocus appear. There are certainly more daffodils poking up through the ground.

I do believe this is a clump of camassia. It will be in desperate need of division when it is finished blooming. I should be in a planting mode by then.

Ah, here are some crocus looking a little blanched hiding under the leaf litter. No blooms yet. I know there are a lot more crocus than this.

A daffodil with flower buds. The first. I do believe this is the daffodil always in the running for the worlds ugliest daffodil. It is one of those fully double frilly ones that is sensitive to temperature swings. Could be an ugly year if it gets cold cold again.

Crocus. I found some. The first crocus of the year. It will be warm and sunny tomorrow. They should open.

There was a stiff west wind ahead of the rain while I was out searching for crocus and this is the second time I have smelled a very sweet and thick molasses type odor riding in on the wind. I think someone is making some moonshine out there.