Friday, May 13, 2011
Today I walked to dogs to start things off - and the sun was just up when we got back. Later I took Jack to lunch, and after lunch I spent the rest of the day (until seven) planting ten sweet viburnum. I first moved four St. Augustine plugs to the back yard. In the morning, before I picked up Jack, I measured and marked where the ten plants would go, and figured out what to do with the new grass plugs that I had just got well started.
To handle the excess sand I did the planting serially - that is, I dug one hole at a time, mixed fertilized peat moss with some sand, soaked the hole with water and waited for it to soak in (just a couple of minutes) got the plant out of the plastic pot and placed it, and then filled the hole around the plant and soaked the new dirt to settle the fill.
By the time I finished the second one my back was absolutely killing me and I though about just doing a couple a day. Of course, the four plugs I moved were about as much trouble as the viburnums, so maybe I could have done five or six tomorrow, and finished up Sunday. All of that was immaterial as I just kept going until I finally finished. The last two plants were in the middle of the television cables - two unbroken for the next to last plant, and three unbroken for the last plant, along with two that were cut off. It is hard to get the plant in, but there is an incentive to do it right because one of those cables is our television, internet, and telephone connection to the outside world.
I did get them in without cutting any cables. Unfortunately it took me four hours to get everything done, and even though I didn't feel hot, my shirt and pants were soaked, and I was shot. The pain in my back blanked out any other discomfort.
I did manage to have a shower and put on clean clothes, but we didn't have supper until 7:30 today, and I still am not completely pain free. A half hour in the recliner helped a lot, though.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Today we went to Home Depot and got 10 viburnum in three gallon pots, and one mandevillea. The viburnum are to put a hedge along the east fence in front, just like the one along the west fence. The BW went crazy for bamboos one year, and we had clumping bamboo various places - including a bunch of "six foot" varieties along the east fence. She got to pruning and trimming, and eventually I had to dig them all out. The viburnum on the west were OK, so maybe these will make her happy.
One morning I saw a new house yard that had been sodded, and there were tiny little bamboos planted every foot along the sidewalk. My observation was that the "six foot" bamboos grew to be 15 feet tall, and I suspect that the owner will be pruning the bamboo frequently, or the county zoning board will be telling him to cut it back.
We also got just one mandevillea in a three gallon pot. It will climb and spread to make a screen as well as put out a lot of large fragrant blossoms. There are plenty of hooks at the top of the porch, so she can tie the twine up to make something climbable, but I only have one tent peg so we will have to buy more.
I don't plan to plant all of this at one time - some tomorrow, some Saturday - maybe even some Sunday. It's a lot of work if you want to make sure the stuff will grow.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
I bragged that the watch that went through the washing machine was still keeping time just fine on Monday. Unfortunately, inside the crystal a bit of trim (or maybe sealant) had broken loose, and was curling away from the edge. That didn't hurt because it was close to the edge of the face. Last night at about 10:30 the minute hand hit the end of the trim and quit going forward. You can see the second hand quiver, once per second, but the hands don't move. The local jeweler once told me that he doesn't work on Timex watches, but he does change batteries (which is where this watch got the ones it was/is using).
I dug the old Timex out of a drawer, took it to the jeweler, and for $8.56 I am back in business. The other watch is now hazardous waste.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I got up at six this morning and took a book back to the library. I left at 6:15 and was back by 7:26 and did 3 and a quarter miles. Then I had a shower and shaved, fed the dogs, read the paper, and went to the morning AARP training session at Daddy's Grill. Had lunch there, then came home and spent an hour and 25 minutes digging out sand burrs and picking peaches.
For you northern residents, a sand burr is a pioneer plant that can grow anywhere, even in straight sand. It is a southern plant, and a close cousin of Bermuda Grass, which is touted at the "Southern" grass - maybe because the birds spread it anywhere and it grows with 2/3 the water of St. Augustine grass. The only thing wrong with sand burrs is that they grow anywhere and spread by making clumps, sending out underground runners that send up new shoots every few inches, and putting out dozens of burrs from each little plant. There are from one to three seeds in each burr, and the burrs are the problem. They are only about 3/16th of an inch around, but the spines are so sticky that you can't pick a fresh one off, because every time it touches your skin it sticks to it, and just a little pressure makes it hurt a lot.
Once they are in the ground, the seeds are viable for up to seven years, so you can't just kill the plants you see and be in good shape. It takes a continuing effort for years, using pre-emergent herbicides and digging out the ones that come up anyway. When I started, three years ago, I dug a full grocery bag packed full of the plants out of our back yard every day for most of the winter. There were a lot of roots that were the size of my little finger, and they had been there for a long time. It was easier last year, but they kept coming up all summer long, and it is some easier again this year, but you never seem to get them all. At least I only need to dig out a bag every few weeks, instead of every day.
Anyhow, while I was digging sand burrs, I noticed that a peach had fallen off the tree, and it didn't show any damage. I took it in to the BW, and then noticed another four on the ground under the tree. They had all been attacked by the bugs on the ground, with big areas eaten away, so I figured it was time to start harvesting. I threw the downed peaches in the bucket with the weeds and finished, then I went out and pulled off all the peaches I could find that weren't firmly attached. I got 41 nice peaches, and scalded and peeled five of them for supper. They were magnificent. I can't remember the last time I had a tree ripened peach. Last year I didn't spray the tree with anything, and while I was waiting for the peaches to get ripe, the bugs and birds ate them all. This year, I bought some Sevin and sprayed that tree, just once. Now I have more peaches than I know what to do with, and a whole lot more on the tree.
I went out to try to take a picture of the peaches on the tree, but none of the shots really showed them. I did crop one picture so you can see a few of the leftover peaches. They look ripe, but they're hard a rocks. That may change in a day or so, so I have to check the tree over often now.
This is the tree with the leftovers.
This is the 41 peaches on the counter, after they were washed.
And, by the way, that Muscadine vine grew another two or three inches in three days.
Cropped so you can see better.
Monday, May 09, 2011
When I was in my 30's, the strap on my watch started making my wrist break out. I tried different types of bands - leather, plastic, and metal, and every time I didn't wear a watch at all for a while, then switched material it was fine for a couple of weeks, but then my wrist would break out again.
I had a gold pocket watch that used to belong to my grandfather and carried it in high school, but every time I dropped it I had to pay for a new balance wheel because the balance wheel shaft was about the size of one of my hairs. Then, when I graduated high school I got a Bulova wrist watch and was like everyone else. That lasted for 12 to 15 years, but then I had problems with the band. I finally just took one half of the band off and carried the watch in my pocket. After a while the ears on the watch started digging holes in my pockets so I used a file and removed the ears from the half missing the band.
That worked for a few years, but finally the watch gave out and I bought a Mickey Mouse pocket watch, which was great for a long time. It was a conversation piece when some high-level executive pulled out his several-thousand dollar watch to compare after I looked at my watch, and I had a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, after eight or nine years I lost the watch. When I tried to buy a new one, the only Mickey Mouse pocket watch I could find had a cover, and you had to open the cover to see what time it was. I carried it for a few months, and finally stored it in a drawer. I saw it recently, so I still have it but I'm not exactly sure where.
After that I found a nice pocket watch the right size in Walmart, and bought that. It lasted me into retirement, but I finally lost it so I went back to Walmart. This time they didn't have any small pocket watches so I bought one that was about the same size as Grandpa's, but it is stainless steel instead of gold, and it runs on batteries instead of a spring. I bought this watch during retirement (some time in the last 18 1/2 years) and it's in my pocket now. I also found the one I lost, buried in a truck, so I'm covered if the one I have gives out.
Unfortunately, last week I looked for my watch and couldn't find it anywhere. I buy jeans and jean shorts now because they have watch pockets (if you're careful which ones you buy) and I had just washed all three pairs of jean shorts. I had washed them in cold water on the heavy duty cycle for extra time because of blood stains on two pairs of jeans and one shirt (the stains all disappeared) and run the clothes in the dryer before I missed the watch, so I ran out and looked in the dryer. Nothing. Then I looked in the washing machine, and there was the watch half way under the agitator. It was still running, so I put it back in my pocket.
A couple of days later I looked at the watch and the clock on the wall, and they were about five minutes apart - in fact, the watch didn't agree with any of the clocks around here and it was at least four minutes slow. I was distressed for a bit, thinking I needed to get another watch working, and then I set it a minute ahead (with the stem out) of one of the little battery powered digital alarm clocks, waited until the clock changed minutes, and clicked the stem in, starting the watch. That was seven days ago. I just checked the watch against the clock again, and I'm sure they are within one second of both showing the same time, just as they were last week.
Timex used to have a slogan - "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking." They don't tick any more, but my Timex did take a licking and it's still keeping time.
PS - sorry about the length of this blog.
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