Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Birds and Tubs

The other day when I was talking to a Bay Area friend on the phone, discussing her visit plans for next month, we got to talking about quail. She said she sees quail from time to time from her apartment patio and I bragged, saying I see probably 100 on any given day. I got to doubting myself and thought I'd better find out how close that estimate was. This morning, 54 of them. So, about the same going home, makes that guess about right. On the other hand, it could be just the same 54 individuals. I love those little dinglebops they have for a topknot.

A straw bale update: we bought a bunch of veggies last week and got them all planted on Saturday, except for one poor sunburst squash that got broken sometime during the trip home.

We also moved the tub. Somewhere along the line, Dino acquired an old fashioned claw foot tub - don't tell me we should install it in the bathroom because there is NO room, seriously. Anyway, he had it re-enameled and painted some time ago and it's been sitting in the upper garden. We decided to put it in the lower garden along the fence and fill it with flowers. Ha ha, the process of moving that thing was fun - it's cast iron and heavy. Of course, we first tried picking it up and although we were able to lift it, walking with it was out of the question. Don't you love the macho assumption that we could just bully it along? Snort. The problem was that it was behind the fence of the upper garden, so how to get it up and over. You already know where I'm going no doubt. Tractor to the rescue again. We got the big straps around the tub, hooked them all up to the various shackles and hooks attached to the tractor's front scoop attachment. Lifted it up, then had to scrunch the top of the wire fence down to get it over. Dino maneuverered it to the general spot in the lower garden and gently set it down. Then, more muscling to get it set on the blocks/bricks so it was level and voila. He's going to rig something up to improve the drainage. Now, I am just going to have to figure out what to plant - a lovely conundrum because of course one wants everything. Definitely something that will trail for the edges, but the rest is up for grabs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Straw Bales

Trying a new method of growing veggies this year: Straw Bales. We saw this in Fine Gardening magazine as well as another gardening book Dino has.

We got the bales a couple of weeks ago and tractored them up to their spots in the orchard area, along one of the lower rows that Dino tractored out. Once the fertilizer settles in and becomes ready, which I'm not sure what the definition of ready exactly is, but probably pretty soon, we'll plant our veggies in the compost on top of the bales. The idea is the roots grow down into the straw. At the end of the summer, the bales are supposed to start turning themselves into compost also. We thought we'd try it this year since we knew we wouldn't have time to build the raised beds we wanted and if this works the way it promises, may just continue with it.

****Has happy thoughts of bell peppers, summer squash, bush beans. Etc. ****

We haven't been taking many birds walks lately, being more on a gardening kick, which to my mind is quite appropriate for this time of year. I've gotten all of the clay pots that we brought from the Bay Area - which had been under the patio at that house - and washed them out. I've already potted up some potentilla, shasta daisies and boxwood for one area. Oh! Also joined the Purple Petunia club - planted a dozen of those in an old compost box. Some gazanias and some geraniums added to the mix. There are another twenty or so pots ready to accept something - another trip to the nursery this week FOR SURE!
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