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Scotty's Place





Itís all in the timing
2005-05-24, 2:03 p.m.

Day 275 Itís all in the timing

Productive weekend. Still have a sliver to get out of a finger, but thatís a sign of good work having been done.

When I grow up and get a gold account I can post pictures of our gardens, but for now, some totally inadequate descriptions will have to do.

House Ė Colonial style. Big freakin rectangle. 2 car garage attached to the left end of the house. From the driveway, a concrete pad (sidewalk) leads to the front door. This sidewalk is about 4 feet wide. At the edge of the sidewalk, I built a brick planter. Planter is 5 courses high (about 15 inches), 1.5 feet wide and maybe 16 - 18 feet long. The planter runs from the driveway to the concrete front porch. Now, in front of the planter and extending aaaaalllllll the way around the house is out foundation plantings. This foundation planting literally goes from the driveway, all the way around the house back to the driveway. It is irregularly shaped, never a straight line, never a sharp angle. The plantings are include 3 or 4 types of barberry, boxwood, several types of holly, different types of junipers, white cedars, a couple different dwarf spruce, a Japanese maple in back, a forsythia and burning bush, 3 different kinds of euyonomous. All artfully arranged to take advantage of variations in color, height, texture, even deciduous vs evergreen. We get comments on our beds fairly regularly, and our gardening activity has become sort of a running joke at the neighborhood block parties.

Well, this past winter we didnít get a lot of snow (only 130 inches all told) but when it came, it stayed. Allowing for compacting, melting, sublimation, etc, we probably had a foot of snow on the ground continuously from early January through early March. This is brutal on deer. Very hard for them to find forage. So they turn to what people unwittingly provide for them. Turns out deer really like white cedar. Like it enough that they stripped 3 of our white cedar shrubs. They were maybe only 6 feet tall, at most 1.5 feet diameter at the base. All thatís left of them now is what was buried in the snow at the time. What weíve been left with are these little cubes of green with a few bare branches reaching up. Compared to the rest of the plantings, itís really kind of sad looking.

Luckily enough, the deer only munched on the shrubs on the less exposed (i.e. not too visible from the road) areas of the yard. Had a gorgeous white cedar growing at the corner of the driveway/planter/sidewalk that is starting to crowd out itís neighbors. I say had because this past weekend it got relocated. Used it to replace the worst of the deer damaged ones out back. Then took the opportunity to re-arrange some of the other plants to re-balance that end of the beds. Snuck in a trip to a local nursery to get some MORE plants for the next area of the yard that needs some help. Found a Japanese holly with black berries. Kinda cool. But we only have the one plant, so I doubt weíll see any more berries. Unless it can get pollinated by another variety holly. Maybe thatís possible, like apple trees arenít self pollinating. They need some help from neighboring trees that are varieties. Well, bees help too. Donít think birds have much to do with it though.

So Saturday saw all the heavy duty yard work get completed. Time to lay down the next round of fertilizer too. But there are conditions. Grass (and weeds) must be damp. Soís the weed killing stuff sticks. Then, no rain for 48 hours. Looked at the weather forecast. Looks like no weed and feed till maybe NEXT MONDAY. Rain predicted every day for the week. Thought I left the Pacific Northwest 25 years ago. Might just as well just lay down some regular straight fertilizer and let it get watered in. Skip the weeds till next month sometime. Oh well.

Took a little break in there, work getting in the way again.

Even with all the gardening going on this weekend, got in two solid work outs. Ran 5Kís both days and did the complete cycle of the strength training machines. Also broke down and established a new weight goal. It basically reduces my calorie allowance by 200 calories a day. Not so bad really. Have 1.5 cups of cereal instead of 2. Half a glass of juice instead of a full glass. Plenty of room to scrimp and save at dinner.

I will have to be very careful with the kids home though. Our grocery buying pattern has already changed. We have cookies & ice cream in the house for the first time in months. Doritoís have arrived too. We also donít cook with the same attention to fat content and overall calories per serving. It may mean nothing more than doing a little extra running to burn it off, or being satisfied with losing only one pound/week rather than my intended 2 lb/week (not bloody likely).

C actually went and saw the doc about her knee last week. She did get the old song and dance about 600mg ibuprofen a day, ice it and stay off it as much as possible. She also got a referral to an orthopedic specialist. The orthopedic guy said her main problem is just a sprain, but there is also a bone chip floating around in there. At this point thereís no evidence the chip is doing any harm. C did get one of those sporty knee braces and has a return appt in 2 weeks. Guess sheís also going back to our GP doc (Dr. B) this week for another follow up.

During my own appt with Dr. B a couple of weeks ago I never did mention anything about Cís drinking and my own suspicions on her ďHypothyroidismĒ Too bad. My earlier predictions for her behavior this weekend were unfortunately accurate. She didnít go get all falling down drunk, but sheíd had enough that she was talking non-stop. That doesnít make for much of a fun evening either. Plus, she starts repeating herself so much youíd think she was the one with Alzheimerís, not her dad. The kids have the option of ďheading out with friendsĒ and believe me, they know exactly when itís time to head out.

Enough of that crap. What to be cheerful about? Juneís coming, maybe weíll finally get daytime highís in the 70ís for more than a single day at a time. Need it so we can get veggies planted. Ahhhh Ė thatís it Ė got to plan out this years veggie gardens.

Short list:

Peppers: Habanero, jalapeno, chile, sweet reds
Squash: yellow summer, zucchini, butternut & buttercup
garlic (already in)
rhubarb (has been in forever)
tomatoes Ė probably sweet 100 cherries (1 plant) and early girl or some sort of beefsteak (1 plant of each)
Carrots (this is a want, we donít usually do them)
Beets (also a want)
String beans?? (usually do, but not much yield for a lot of space)
Lettuce, spinach? (usually do, but kind of a pain)

Like to try different some squashes, add horseradish, maybe some herbs. Have to see what we can wedge in this year.

275 days down. Better get my prescription before my blood pressure goes up.

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old habits - new tricks