Saturday, July 21, 2018

Hard To Swallow

The critters around the yard and my garden beds are giving me a real challenge this Summer.  For months, I've been watching the darn rabbits devour flowers and plants digging holes to get under the fence around my garden beds close to the house.  Placing them at the base of the chicken wire fencing, the other day I hauled rocks.  So far, so good as far as the rabbits go.
Dawn and dusk always bring them out.  Wriggling and rolling, they take dust baths in the dead, dried patches of the yard.  Taking this shot from a mere 15' away, I could not beleive it didn't budge even when I said, "Hey Bunny, get out of my yard!"

Then it was the deer.  They ate everything!!  Yet how could I get angry with my resident doe when she brought her twins to graze on my hydrangeas? 

This week, when, once again, I climbed into the garden bed to weed, I fund something new.  Before I continue telling you what I discovered, I need to back up a few months.  

I don't remember when I discovered a large bunch of my Echinacea lying on  the ground.  And apparently it had been there a while because it was shriveled up and dead.  Thinking it got pulled out by mistake the last time I weeded in a rush, I threw it in the weed bin and continued working.  Now although that chunk left a pretty big gap in my patch, I knew that the plant always self seeds and is very prolific.  I wasn't worried, although apparently I should have been.

Lately I've been noticing that some of the stems of various perennials were just lying on the ground as if they broke off.  Upon closer investigation, I found chipmunks had burrowed beneath the root system of the Evening Primrose, Lamb's Ear and Bachelor's Button.  Destroying root systems as they built their tunnels, I began doing some research about those cute little buggers.

Well Sunday I saw this...three nice Cone Flower leaves and a bud very close to the ground.  In fact, the ore I looked, I thought, "How odd...there is no stem."  

Well, when I gently lifted the three leaves and bud up to see where the "stem" was, look what I came across!!  Yes, I was surprised.  But then I thought, those darn chipmunks that live under my garden bed had bitten off a little more than they could chew.  And you know what?  I was glad!!!

Has anyone ever tried to deter chipmunks using hot peppers or cayenne
 pepper?  Does it work?  My BFF suggested a recipe he found that includes Lysol, Epsom Salt and water.  Does anyone know if that would harm my plants' remaining root system?

just seeing, saying, and sharing...

Hard To Swallow

with you and those at

His Project, His Plan

We'd been talking about it for a while.  Being here almost seven years, one thing we realized was that we hardly ever get a chance to enjoy the patio on the West side of the house.  The sun from the South/Southwest...the sun that powers our solar panels...hits our 12' x 32' patio around 11:30 AM and doesn't subside until sunset approaches.  

Knowing that the pergola the Pres helped my son build on his deck to give them shade was a big hit, when we went over to give him a hand with another project, my imagination reeled.  While the boys worked, I spent time with my granddaughter and Harley (now 49 lbs and six mos)...:) which was fun to say the leas!  Spending a lot of our time outside, I must say that I kept admiring their pergola and was quite impressed with the shade it provided.

"Maybe we should think about doing the same thing, " I said to the Pres as we drove home that afternoon.  A few days later when I returned from "eagle nest observing" a trailer load of lumber sat in the front yard.  He'd gone to our local lumber yard and purchased enough to begin "the project."

The next few days I convinced the Pres to ONLY work in the mornings while that area was shaded because of the hot and humid air quality.  

Watching him measure, mumble to himself and double check, and triple check was quite entertaining.  Sure, I helped but nothing compared to what he did.  My passion is Eagles, his is building and it always has been.

When two people live together as long as we have, predictability can be annoying.  Yet sometimes it becomes almost comical.  Watching and anticipating his next step as I gardened, I was really quite content until I heard, "Hon, want to give me a hand?"

Once the holes for the concrete were dug, which took two mornings, the six 6" x 6" columns were anchored and the outside perimeter was "framed," stabilizing the columns.  That was the morning of day 3.

That was the easy part.  It was when that trailer load of lumber became filled for the second time that things became interesting.

Each 2"x 8" was marked with a line drawn in pencil indicating where it should sit on the supporting frame.  Bear in mind that each board had been cut in his garage bay to it's precise size, loaded on the trailer and waited it's turn.

Watching him work as I gardened I would shudder when I, once again, heard, "Hon, can you come here?"  The Pres is like "a bull in a China shop" when he works so trying to hold a 16 footer in place as he tried to lift it into place was more than challenging.

However it was when he repeatedly walked over to the trailer, took the pencil from behind his ear (which is held in place with the help of his baseball cap) and seemed to be scribbling that I grew intrigued.  When he went in to take a break, I had to wander over to take a peek.  

All this time, I thought that the engineering grad did the math in his head!!

  Fast forward five days an this is where we stand.  What you see below was done in one four.

Taken at 8:00 AM

Taken at 10:08 AM
Taken at 11:26 AM

There was one more layer to go.  Those boards were placed perpendicular to the existing, spaced 4 inches apart.  We bought sixteen footers...1" x 8" boards that were then "ripped" to 1" x 4" boards of varying lengths 4', 8', 12', and 16'.  Once again I was assured that the varying lengths would prevent "one seam" and add to the integrity of the structure.  

The pergola will then remain as is until the lumber is totally dried out.  Then (perhaps in the Fall) it will be stained to match our decks.  As you can see, we got what we wanted...shade.


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