Archive for July, 2011

The family room is strewn with six toys, a scratching post, a kitten and a dog right now.   We’ve all had breakfast, and rather than go out and work in the rapidly increasing heat, I thought I’d stay in the house until my ten o’clock client arrives.   Since this is a new client, I felt that it would be more professional if I greeted the gentleman at the door rather than having someone come collect me from the garden, all sweaty and dirty.   I could be wrong about that. . . but it just seems like I might make a better impression.

A few weeks ago, I bruised my wrist.  (That bruise is fully healed, by the way.)   I find it interesting that I posted a picture of it, and mentioned it in passing, but did not describe the circumstances surrounding that event.   What really happened was that I had a couple of hours between clients and Zoey and I were deeply involved in cleaning the house across the street as the tenants had left.   By this time, we had discovered that in addition to not bothering to clean it up, they had also left it infested with fleas.   So we were vacuuming the entire house daily in an effort to mitigate the flea situation, and braving the starving hordes of insects as we worked on getting the walls clean.   (You really have to clean walls before you do carpets.)

Anyway, I was over there instructing the girl in how to wash walls, thinking that I had at least fifteen minutes before my client, a brand new one, arrived.   I had just whacked the hell out of my wrist and was standing there cussing when Jim popped in the door and said, “Your client is here.  She’s early.”  He had her set up filling out the client intake form, but her first experience of me was my precipitate entry to the house where I grabbed the ice pack out of the freezer, wrapped it in a dish rag and sat, sweating and disheveled, at the table where she was filling out the form.   While I did get all cleaned up before I started the massage, and I also think I gave her a pretty good one, I have not heard a word from her since.   Let me just say I am not really surprised.

So, I am happy to report that my legs and arms are almost completely healed from my encounter with the cercaria in the pond.  Thank heavens.

The ditch is done, and we are enjoying that the new faucet that is nearer to the flower gardens.  And that it does not leak.

That scar will be gone before you know it.  Out in the vegetable garden, the big news is the summer squash.   We already have over a gallon of it roasted and frozen for winter.   Below are a couple of “arty” shots I took, first of the pattypan squash, the second of the yellow zucchini.

While I was deeply involved in trying to capture the squash, I was being buzzed by a dragonfly.   I looked up and caught it posing on the garden fence.

You can see it is an older one by the tattering of its wings.   This is the same species I featured in the last blog post.   I guess it was over in the garden looking for lunch.    I thought I’d go see what was happening by the pond, and discovered another sort of dragonfly species there deeply involved in their mating rituals.

While I was shooting these dragonflies, I was hearing quite a commotion in the nest box that is near the pond.   Apparently the garden wren decided she wanted new quarters for her second brood of chicks, and they have hatched out.  Whenever a parent arrives with a food delivery, the chirping and cheeping is quite loud.   Here is one of the wrens, exiting the box, having made a food delivery.

When I proceeded into the Stroll Garden, I discovered a third dragonfly species hunting in the day lilies.

There is a fourth species on the place that I have not been able to capture yet, brilliant red, and very large.

Last, I have abalone nacre and the sunset light shining through heuchera leaves for you.

Turns out I was laboring under a delusion when I thought my client was scheduled for 10 a.m. today.   He’s not supposed to be here until noon, so I believe I shall take Ruby for her walk before it gets any hotter.   It’s already 82° F and the prediction is for 96° with a heat index of 102°.  So I believe I shall motivate out of here now.

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My niece and I went out last Friday and worked for several hours to clear out the pond.

I have to tell you that that area of the yard has been so disturbing to me I haven’t even been able to bring myself to photograph it.   However, there are photographs taken in earlier years that show how it looks when I let it get away from me.  If anything, it was even more overgrown this year.

So, a few days ago, I decided to document how it is now that I have beaten back the water plants a bit.

Seriously, before I worked out there, you could not see the waterfall at all due to the giganticness of the forsythia bush and the massive wild lotus in the water.

The dragonflies love the pond.  This one is posing on one of the water cannas.

But there is always a price to pay for beauty, I’m afraid.   Turns out that my little pond has managed to become the harbor  for some sort of trematode, a two stage parasite of birds and snails.   Thank goodness I did not encourage my niece when she suggested that she could also get into the pond to help me clean it out. Otherwise, she could look and feel just like I do.

I took close up shots but find them way too graphic and disturbing for this blog, really.  Thank goodness I had on my wet suit booties.  I seriously considered wearing my short river shoes, or going barefoot.   Otherwise my feet would be in on the “fun” too.

Actually, these shots were taken a few days after the initial eruptions of hives, which happened on Saturday morning.   Imagine each and every one of those little welts being approximately three times the size they are above… intense itching… diarrhea because of the amount of toxins being emitted by the dying creatures (thankfully that only lasted for a few hours)…  Benadryl, ibuprofen, cortisone cream…   in the afternoon I discovered that margaritas helped enhance the effect of the benadryl…  Saturday is a lost day for me, I can barely remember it, except for a general sense that I was really uncomfortable.

My wonderful friend Jeri told me on Sunday to try doing a salt scrub.   That made the itching 90% better, bearable.   I have done several scrubs and a couple of soaks as well.   The lesions are healing, but some of them are stubbornly itching even now.   The ones on my hands and arms are particularly bothersome as they get disturbed all the time, which makes them itch.

I just haven’t felt much like blogging or anything else.   Still, we managed to get started on reclaiming the root cellar, another spot that I have let go over the past couple of years in despair over the bermuda grass infestation.   That resulted in the discovery of a new tenant at The Havens; a young groundhog recently expelled from the maternal presence has decided to move in back there.    Hopefully it will not discover the vegetable garden.   I have enough problems with squirrels and birds.

My dislike of squirrels has been compounded by the latest activity — putting the netting up over the vineyard, which is starting to ripen the grapes.   We discovered that the squirrels thought that maybe the bird net would be a good place to spend the winter, so there is one net that is sporting large holes where the rodent attempted to chew the fibers into a comfortable bed.   Fortunately, we discovered its presence soon after it moved in and found a more secure way to store the nets.    But I have been spending some “quality time” out in the sweltering day mending the holes; the birds would find them quite convenient.

I really hate squirrels; not enough to eat them, though.   As Jim says,   “I don’t eat rat.”  Not even if it has a fluffy cute tail.

Excuse me.   I have to go scratch.  No, wait!   NO SCRATCHING.

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The theme this week is “near”.

I had to get very near to the little praying mantis in these shots.  She was hunting on the stem of one of the day lilies this morning.

To carry the theme a little farther out, I would say that my day lily garden is as near to perfect as it ever gets.

Sadly, many of them are nearing the end of their seasonal display.  Good thing I have a few flowers that are nearly ready to open.

Check out the other photohunters here.

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Site maps

A couple of days ago Woo mentioned that it might be nice to have a site plan of The Havens.  This has occurred to me before, but I never acted upon the idea.

Today, I remedy the situation.   I have two plans for your edification.   The first one is an overall view of The Havens.   We have two acres here.  It looks sort of like this from the air:

The features are pretty close to where they actually are, in this map.  If you want to see it from Google Earth point of view, then you can type in the latitude and longitude and the pointer will be right in the middle of the place.   Or you can look for 18 Glenridge St., Lebanon, MO and get to the same place.   Google Earth imagery is from 2009, and oddly enough you can barely see the vineyard.   I guess the vines look a lot like lawn from above.  The image was taken in the late morning, by the way.   I can tell from the tree shadows.

Below is a more detailed plan of the Stroll Garden, which is on the west side of the property.

I need to update this plan a bit, the spot labelled “ornamental grass” is what I now call the Petite Prairie.    Where it says tree/spirea is actually where the blueberries are planted.   The part marked with green was going to be grass paths but we have converted that to cedar bark mulch underlain with weed barrier.

I hope this will help you all be oriented to where I am talking about when I discuss various parts of the yard.

I shall leave you with an image of the bouquet that graces my dining table right now.

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It has been a frantic few days here at The Havens.

I’ll start right off by reporting that the naming of Mallory  was oh, so appropriate.   At present she is obsessed with learning how to balance on the top rail of the dining room chairs.

I actually have video of this activity.   This was taken last night during dinner, and this morning she has gotten so that she can jump straight to the top and balance using both of those rails.   When she is bigger, I’m afraid that the chair will probably fall over backward when she makes this move. . .

She also has discovered my niece Alex’s luggage, which is a very nice North Face back pack, with all sorts of wonderful compartments and zippers.   She knows how to open zippers!


She also sleeps, on occasion.

The ditch got finished yesterday.   The reason there is a tunnel is because there is a French drain line that directs the water coming off the barn and out of the pond away from the house.   There is also a buried electrical cable that serves the waterfall at the pond in that area too.

Today there will be sand put in the bottom of the trench, and then the water line and new spigot will be installed.   I can hardly wait!   I am fairly tired of dragging hose from the sauna clear out to the west line in order to water the day lilies.

Another activity that got accomplished was we finally re-set the rocks in the Japanese rock garden area of the Stroll Garden.  Once we had the large one in place, we realized that the smaller one off to the west of it just wasn’t quite right.  So we moved it.   These are two angles that show it before it was moved.

This is how it looked afterwards.

It really relates much better now.   I guess you have to really be into rocks to “get” this subtlety.   Jim is really good at seeing this, I think he must be an ancient Japanese gardener in disguise.

The day lilies are prime right now.

Also, we have had a lot of robin fledglings hanging about the place lately, in addition to the seemingly dozens of wrens.   This pair was hanging around on the juniper bush below my massage room window for several days, soliciting food from their proud parents.

Saw a tachnid fly pollinating one of the flame flowers the other day.

Mallory thinks she should help me blog now.   I think not.

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