Weeds and Flowers

This picture is from pixabay. Not an accurate representation of the stuff I was yanking up.

Sorry, guys.  Having younger son living with us for some weeks, and knowing time is limited, I’ve taken shameless advantage of his presence to do a bunch of things that have been waiting for year.  To wit, to cut back the bush in the yard that was taking over the flowerbeds, and also the garden which had been taken over by spiney weeds as tall as I.

Like a strand of intellectual-oriented people, the boys and I enjoy hard, violent work.  And perhaps because of that, we got carried away and stayed out there six hours, just about.  We probably have another couple of days work out there, together, and then I — on my own and slower — have to remove the weed prevention barrier from the flower beds, and redo it, since obviously it’s no longer working.

One of the surprises — remember when we moved here I was very ill and prednisone-depending to keep breathing, so yard work simply didn’t happen, and last year … well, I was still recovering — is that the previous owner had a rose garden back there  Which is great, as I was intending on establishing one.  I will still need to get some different varieties, since I presume what she has are heritage roses (a couple of them are, that still had flowers, one red, one pink.) because these roses escaped the choking by weeds by propagating, including a few volunteers on the lawn.  I’ll be moving those tomorrow.  I’m too tired to dig now.

Anyway, it’s going to take a full year, I think, to bring that yard back into proper shape, but at least we’ve made a start on the most violent phase, and I had the advantage of having someone much stronger than I swing the hatchet to bring the bush into compliance.

So, I’m so sorry I’m late. I was out there since 8 am.  And we’ve done about half the work we need to do.

Take it as a sign that I feel better.  At some point I’ll buy a couple more rose bushes, but I can’t plant till next month, so it can wait.

And now, I must turn to the neglected garden of my writing! In which many weeds have also grown.  But they will be conquered.

109 thoughts on “Weeds and Flowers

    1. Concrete is the perfect yard. Barring that, Astro Turf…

      I saw a lot of raked gravel yards in Colorado Springs back in the ’80s, but I’m not into raking either.

  1. Rose beds are acceptable justification for neglecting this virtual flower bed, especially as it typically produces, unprompted, a lot of blooming idiots.

    Remember, however, two salient considerations: always employ suitable sunscreen schemes, especially in higher altitudes, and remember: extended hard labor after prolonged inactivity can often result in muscle soreness, so take appropriate analgesics. Preferably neat.

    1. And don’t forget the electrolytes. It’s amazing how much that helps not having the hangover feeling of too much sun. (Yes, I’ve gotten a hangover from yard work. NO FUN.)

    2. And don’t forget hydration along with the electrolytes. I’ve had some experiences that were far more interesting than fun before getting a quart or two of water in me. (We’re only 4300 feet up, but most of the time, we’re dry.)

      1. Just got back from Canada – Banff/Jasper area – about the same elevation. Did some hiking, mostly touristy stuff with gondolas, and looking for wildlife. Not near as much hiking as we normally do.

        Feet dang near killed* me. Swollen and extremely sore, or sore and swollen … it is the cart/horse or horse/cart. Don’t know if they are swollen because sore or reverse. Regardless … never happened before, and I’m not anymore out of shape or as heavy as I’ve ever been when we go on these trips; just older … Suspect hydration, etc., was inadequate.

        * Still sore. We’ve been home now for almost 48 hours.

        Good news.

        Pup did really well, even when we observed wildlife. She was clipped into the back seat but that didn’t stop her from seeing the wildlife. She sure put up a fuss (barking … need to work on that “inside” voice) seeing people, at the same distance we saw bears. Bears less than 10 feet from the vehicle, nada. Alberta facilities also accepted her “credentials” as a SD (i.e. my word and patches) even tho we aren’t certified by Alberta standards. Only a couple of places it mattered (hotel and couple of the gondolas). Kitted out she wears a small pack (not that she can carry much, but she wears one). I probably heard “Oh, how cute! Look at the small doggy wearing a pack. /chuckle/” in about 10 languages, about every 5 feet.

        Banff has been “DISCOVERED”. Banff/Jasper area has always been busy. But holly cow. Banff was BAD.

        Jasper is one badly placed lightening strike (or idiot) from a major catastrophic fire; no matter how much rain they’ve been getting. Pine Beetle has hit 90% of the pines. Needles have not dropped off yet. Scary.

        Saw lots of black bear, one fleeting glimpse of a grizzly, some elk cows & calves, big horn sheep, a mountain goat, and coyotes. No wolves.

        Bailed a few days early. Would have kept up the smaller hikes, despite feet. Even hubby was having problems. But hiking and being sore is nothing new for me. However, weather forecasts, showed lightening storms coming in, and they were coming. That is one thing that will stop us from hiking. It is one thing to have them roll in, unexpectedly, when already hiking, but to start when we know one is coming in and can see them rolling in … uh, No. Sunday, as predicted, just 100% rain (steady to hard), with cloud cover almost to the ground, yep. 100%.

        Sunday was our travel day. Going through western BC to WA border control was a very, very, bad idea. Not the border crossing itself, but getting there … holy cow. Almost 3 hours to go no more than 30 miles, with an hour of it waiting at the border. One accident (pickup with trailer in ditch, cause ???), second ???, then long line at border. On a Sunday after 5 PM. IF we ever go again, we are definitely NOT going through west BC border. Will use smaller boarder crossing in east WA or ID.

        This was our first trip using hotels. Normally we use truck/trailer combination. Will be working up estimates on actual costs for fuel/lodging, VS estimate costs of fuel/camping. Suspect shorter trips is a push cost wise, but I can help drive. Stayed in facilities with small kitchens. Eating out was equivalent to what we’d do with having trailer.

        1. One of $SPOUSE’s relatives (lives near Kamloops, if memory serves) has been in a task force on beetle issues. I gather that BC is rotten with beetle-killed trees. We’re getting patches down here, and one got cleared by a lightning fire last year. So far, it’s a light season. (crosses fingers…)

          Remember the RICE regime (rest, ice, compression and elevation) for swelling/injuries. The Comfy Chair is a recliner, and I’m spending most of my time with the feet up. (Ibuprofen is a good anti-inflammatory if you can take it.)

          We’ve concluded that the border collie doesn’t know (or care, whichever) about indoor voices.

        2. As I’m not a medical professional, I’m not qualified to badmouth RICE, but my experience with feet was that a cold water foot bath can work better. Nothing fancy, just the bathtub with a couple inches of the cold tap, for about 10-15 minutes. I like it because you still get the Rest of being off it. The cold water isn’t nearly as painful as Ice, and because you immerse your foot you get more surface area exposed to the cold.

          1. Yeah, Amy, you probably have a better idea. I had to use the cold pack, because surgery. I also had really major swelling; the doctor showed me a mid-procedure photo–it was pretty invasive.

            Given my druthers, I’d skip the compression; I’m stuck with at least lightly until the pins come out. Two weeks to go, but who’s counting?

        3. I just saw a writeup about a wolf attack in Banff Nat’l Park last Friday. Injuries to one camper, but he and a neighboring camper drove the wolf off; which was later found by TPTB and shot.

          1. Attack happened after we drove north on the parkway where the campground is located (Friday morning). Did notice the campground was closed when we drove back south on the parkway Sunday. But didn’t know about the attack until I read the article once we got home.

            Never saw a wolf. Coyotes and Bear, yes. Wolf no.

            However Thursday AM we were headed north from Banff to Peyto Lake (still south of where the above attack occurred) and got to see a vehicle start rolling over an embankment from one of the pull offs, and someone trying to get into the vehicle to stop it (she failed). She was hurt, but not critically. Drop-off a vegetative cliff, just enough slope (75+% ???) that at the non-speed the vehicle was rolling it rolled straight down into the trees that stopped it, and didn’t flip or roll.

            We pulled over immediately, and ran over. Everyone already there ran over too. A private corporate construction company was moving people & gear coming from the other direction. First truck pulled in, and the rest followed. They had trained emergency personnel and equipment, plus radios to contact 911. They are the ones who took over the rescue. No one was in the vehicle. The women let go just over the ridge so she didn’t go all the way down, but the back of the vehicle did roll over her. She was stabilized and up on the landing before we left, but ambulances weren’t there yet. Checked latter on our way back south with the park ranger and tow driver to see how the women was. She was hurt, but not critical. Didn’t ask, but suspect the vegetation under her cushioned her when the back driver tire rolled over.

            Yes. We both tended to double check that the Santa Fe was not only in park, off, and the emergency break was on, before we’d get out of the vehicle the rest of the trip. We didn’t always get my dog out to take scenic pictures. Doubt SD, or not, she’d be counted as being critical to rescue …

            1. The way to bet is that the wolf was a known problem wolf who’d been relocated at least once before and had just not attacked a human. (Stalked, harassed, etc, but not damaged.)

            2. Boots and rocks. The official word was the wolf was old and in bad shape. No reports of silver filled hollowpoints. The last time I checked, the RCMP wasn’t fond of full automatic shotguns, silver buckshot or no. I still want one..

              ‘Sides, it wasn’t quite full moon. 🙂

  2. Remember when you hydrate to get sufficient salts.
    That’s the extent of my helpful advice in regards to yard work.
    (I like to eat pickles for my after work salt intake.)

    1. It turns out that glugging pure water is not the best way to hydrate. It just passes through. Better to have some food with — or in — it.

    2. I occasionally work at Renaissance festivals, where the newbies drink water. The experienced vendors drink Gatorade. The old pros drink pickle juice. At one show, there was a traveling vendor who sold pickles. She stashed the jars under her cart and handed ’em out to the guys who did the harder labor.

      1. There’s nothing like starting to eat a dill pickle without being able to taste the salt.

        1. The one near me has human-powered rides for the kids, some of which are impressive. While leaving one year, I saw one guy swig the remains of a 2-gallon pickle jar, put it down, swear, and say “that was my last pickle until next year.”

  3. I won’t say much more than Knockout Roses, Certified Roses™ from Tyler Texas, Heirloom Roses (Portland Oregon), and I hope you have better luck than I have if you get David Austin roses.

    Oh, yeah, and “own root.”

        1. The best ever was long ago there was an editor known as TECO written in the late 60’s early 70-‘s for DEC hardware. It’s command to create a file to edit was make. If you entered “make love” it would reply “Not War?”

          You probably know this Madame Hostess but on the rose front check your growing zone. Your combination of altitude and cold winters may mean you need hardy roses or to pack them all around with hay before winter. My Dad used to use salt marsh hay, but I suspect the supplies of that in Colorado are relatively limited :-).

          1. We’re smack in zone 1; yes, we’ve had hard freezes (25F) in June. One of the two really old (circa 100 years) lilac bushes has a yellow rosebush growing in it. I never saw it bloom until last year, but it did such again this year. That bush never got any preferential treatment, largely because we didn’t know it existed.

            Klamath Falls, 100-200 feet lower in elevation and getting a whacking great benefit from lake effect, grows roses quite well. Some of those guys are tough!

            1. Zone 1? Yowza! I grew up in Connecticut on the shore of Long Island Sound. We were zone 4/5 depending on whose catalog you believed. The roses had to be protected with hay (These are long stems not the hardier natural varieties). We had an Apricot tree. About 1 year in 3 it would have fruit. In the other 2 we’d get a late (late April) hard frost and the fruit which had set but not really started would just fall off. My Dad tried figs, got a female to grow but the males were delicate. Probably wouldn’t have mattered I don’t think we had the right wasps to pollinate a fig. They flowered really early and frost got them all the time. Can’t imagine trying to grow anything as delicate as a rose in Zone 1.

          2. Thing is, the circumstances we have, the growing zones could be shifting from changes in the solar cycles and government might be slow to adjust.

            Flowers are homophobic anyway.

    1. Or from the Antique Rose Emporium. I have a couple that I bought from them when they had an outlet locally which are still going strong…
      We did some work in the garden today, also – early as it is supposed to be up to 100-102 degrees this afternoon. (Sigh – gotta love Texas in August…)
      I have plans for the teeny front gardens, depending on how the sales of books go…

  4. I was waiting for this to turn into a metaphor about publishing or US education or something.

    I like the idea that we are the roses escaping the weeds that have infected so many institutions. Some are the brave colonists out exposed in the grass, from you to someone like Tim Pool.

    The rest of us are just struggling to keep our heads above the weeds and grabbing bits of sunlight here and there.

    In more relevant comments, we are gardening for the first time this year. C put three flowers next to the mailbox, but two died within weeks. We have six tomato plants, five peppers, and I tried planting some herbs. We started real late, July, but I’m glad we did. Each we’re going to garden and then don’t get started in spring so say “next year”.

    Well, next year I’ll have already built a raised bed and while we have about 9 peppers at various stages of development and 6 tomatoes, who cares. If we get 10 total of each this year I’ll be happy. That is what I can accomplish in a year.

    If people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what they can in five, then how much will I grow by accepting “just do it and see” as what I can do in one.

      1. And I have coupons for Rainbow Gardens which give me half-off on purchases in August. I usually use them to stock up on seed packets…

        1. It’s also good policy to rotate crop types so as to frustrate specific fungal and pests for plants. If you only do something in a space once every three years, they don’t have a chance to get established. (This is for “families”, like the nightshade family of peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes, or the squash family.)

    1. Looking at the area of our yard that no longer has a giant weed jungle growing in it is kind of nice. It’s one thing I can use to justify my existence for the day.

    2. I’m limited to trips to the kitchen, bathroom, and kennel (but I repeat myself), but I discovered that the SleepyHead CPAP monitoring software is now a closed project. People were able to take the older code and fork it into the OSCAR (Open Source CPAP Analysis Reporter) project, so today, I’ve been downloading and installing the bits to get that up and running. Good way to use the excess bandwidth at the end of my bandwidth metering session.

      My clear-airway numbers postop have been horrible, but that’s not surprising. Once the additional hardware comes out of my foot and I can forgo dressings and the semi-permanent Ace bandage, my numbers should start looking better. (And the cardiologist says it’s not a problem; I’m not in heart failure. Yet. [grin] )

      Projects I can do sitting down are good right now. When I can start walking, there’s a lot more that needs to be done. When I can wear boots and walk, there’s a whole lot more…

      1. I’m not entirely sure what happened between the Sleepyhead developer and the apnea forum, but it sure looks ugly.

        1. I wasn’t aware of that. I haven’t been on the apnea board in a long time, so I missed everything. OTOH, I got the impression a few years back that Mark was prone to encounters with the black dog.

          He slowed work on it a lot about the time I built a (non-standard distribution) Linux version a few years ago. Somebody defaced his website, and that didn’t bode well.

        2. FWIW, *some* people get really ticked when their project is forked. See the various kerfuffles around Gab and say, Mastadon.

        3. I took a look at the posts; yeah, it’s ugly. OTOH, OSCAR looks like it’ll be supported quite well, and once I got past a couple of screwups with multiple versions of Qt (I had two ways of setting up the links, and the second way screwed me up), it compiled and ran nicely. It’s still a pre-release build (at least, that’s what I got from GitLab), but it’s already defeated one bug that was annoying in my old SleepyHead.

  5. Ah, a person who understands that violence – and only unmerciful, drastic, and frankly genocidal violence will (sometimes) get weeds to pay attention.

    After two hard monsoon rains, I’ll be out there myself this coming weekend. As usual, while hacking away, I’ll be working on my concept for a nano-nuke. (A glassed over yard will not bother me at all, although it might annoy the spouse, but I still have a problem figuring out how to have only very short-lived fallout. Under development…)

    1. The Orbital Laser Array will do a good job of fusing the yard. Just make sure you don’t depend on Mapquest for the location…

  6. We spent three weeks at a Methodist camp in Washington State last summer. We were supposed to be installing toilets, but I wound up on the trails with the “gorsebusters.” Ah, gorse..grows like mad, the seeds are viable for 50 years and to kill it you have to spray weedkiller on the stump within 15 to 30 seconds or it seals up and regenerates.
    Turns out I’m not bad with a pitchfork, and killing horse is a good way to release one’s aggression.

    1. Ahh Gorse, basically kudzu with spines. Lovely stuff. Shame flamethrowers are so hard to get.

      1. Get a metal sprayer like you would put out weed killer. Fill with diesel fuel. Pump up as usual. Light a piece of newspaper. Spray diesel fuel on flame.

        Should work. Wear long pants and good shoes. Keep the pressure up. Fun for the whole family.

        Results not guaranteed. Note that metal parts are required.

        1. Wildland firefighters use a drip torch, running a mix of diesel and gasoline. Looks like they run about $140, and you can get a propane weed burner for under $50. Some outfits carry the railroad length highway flares; too..

  7. Coincidentally, I was also weeding today; we’ve got a jungle back there that grows faster than I can pull them. Doing any sort of planting beyond, “Ooh, those are pretty flowers that blew in from the neighbor’s yard” is out of the question.

    At least it brings down the blood sugar.

    1. You’d think the weeds would realize a black thump lives at our house. Joke when I get new plants – “What are the new victims?” But noooo. Volunteers flourish, even if I’d kill them if I’d planted them …

  8. Here at Chez Phantom we have diesel-powered yard equipment. Acres of lawn. “Weeding the garden” is accomplished with a weed-whacker that has a metal blade on the end instead of a plastic line. (Highly recommended for bull-rushes etc. Super fast.) For pesky undergrowth and little saplings, there’s a saw blade.

    Must say I did enjoy getting in and clearing the bushes out from around the air conditioner box. I didn’t expect that level of growth in only a couple of years, it was a mini-forest in there. Needed the hefty branch nippers in spots as the spinning-blade-of-death nightmare tool wouldn’t fit.

    Still threatening to put up a shed and fence in the back yard for the doggo. As he gets bigger I keep adjusting the fenced area larger. Weather is only now starting to cooperate a bit. July was astoundingly hot, 99F+, April to end of June was solid rain. Pretty hard to put in fence posts when everything is swimming in water.

    1. $SPOUSE mentioned that the weeds in the driveways (main driveways comprise about a quarter mile, but there are some older roads that might be better cleared) that Are A Problem. This fall, I’ll spray any that haven’t been frostkilled, (doc says I can drive by the end of September barring a major mishap), and next spring, I’ll try to nuke everything that should be roadway.

      I’ve been spot spraying, but I’m hearing “come buy me” sounds from boom sprayers at the farm store. 2,4D for the win!

      1. My local weeds think 2,4-D is fertilizer. Doesn’t work enough to notice unless mixed with dicamba and applied at quad strength. Need to get someone to come spray with Milestone; reportedly that’s the end of your weeds.

        Tho my punishment for killing off Jack’s Giant Thistles (will make 15′ tall, under ideal conditions… measured one rosette at 6.5′ across before it ever sent up a stalk, and when the stalk started it was almost 4″ diameter) …was an infestation of prickly lettuce. *sigh*

        Got a mechanical goat and used that to repeatedly scalp the cheat grass so it couldn’t head out… fall seed mat was like walking on needles. Trying to encourage what good grass there is, so Roundup wasn’t an option.

        Now if the damn deer would stop bringing me goatheads…!! Those are hand-pull-and-dispose-in-trash, cuz the seeds will mature without benefit of an intact plant.

        …yet another victim of Obsessive Weeding Disorder…

        [OTOH, my garden seems determined to feed the entire neighborhood. Would you like some zucchini??]

          1. Alas, I am in Montana… where during August, everyone locks their cars, lest a bagful appear on the seat… today I gave away four by accosting a random passerby (who proved to be a neighbor I’d been meaning to go meet anyway).

            She mentioned turning them into parmesan chips… must try this. There are at least another 30 or so in progress, and the bush eats passing children.

            Last year my excess produce was mostly spaghetti squash. Planted four seeds from a random acquisition (apparently a hybrid, since the offspring came in two types) …every source agreed that you get 4 or 5 squash per vine… gave away 130 squash (some watermelon-sized!!), and lost another 35 or so to an early freeze. New math??

          2. This year was awful for zucchini. We cut the number of plants way down (we were donating to the Gospel Mission, but it was getting to be a burden), and then we had a hard freeze a couple weeks after the seedlings were transplanted. Got a lot of blooms, but the bees were AWOL until recently. So, our annual take is about what we used to get in two days a couple years ago.

            Tomatoes were late, but we discovered we can hand pollinate them (shake the plant to distribute the pollen). Our favorite heirloom variety (Siberia–have I mentioned we’re really cold?) wasn’t available at the retail outfits this year, but I bought a small batch from an east coast firm for next year.

            Previous years, I’ve grilled the take on Max the Weber. Since I’m limited, $SPOUSE uses the grill pan in the broiler. Tastes good!

            1. This year I had to replant all the melon-type stuff and about half the corn; didn’t freeze, just didn’t come up. Of course spring ran up to 30 degrees below normal and two months late, so no doubt the poor things were suffering from global warming.

              However, along with the volunteer tomatoes, there’s a bunch of volunteer watermelon, cucumber, peas, and onions. Which makes me think some of this tender stuff from seed would be better planted in the fall and let it decide when to come up. The volunteer cukes came up later but soon pulled ahead of the planted ones. Vol watermelon is about a month behind. Vol tomatoes were behind but caught up.

              First corn from saved seed is extra tasty, if a bit small (but it’s all small this year). Parent was a hybrid, but children don’t seem to have noticed.

        1. Around here, the magic combination for thistles (mostly Scotch and Canada, which annoys $SPOUSE, since both areas are key to her) is 2% 2,4-D and 0.3% of a wetting agent. I’ll put an ounce of blue highlighter in 15 gallons of mix so I can see where I’ve sprayed.

          With the spot sprayer, I’ll turn the plant blue. In good conditions (really cold weather stops the killing process), the plant will be dead in two weeks. Sources say *do not mow* in those two weeks. Really small plants (like a bed of freshly sprouted thistles) don’t get killed until they see a repeated application. A good rosette or one that’s freshly bolted is a good target.

          Rumor says glyphosphate killer is quite tasty to the thistles. OTOH, our soil (pumice and some clay, varying thicknesses over a layer of shale hardpan) is poor. The ranchers can get some good hay, at least in years when the tribes don’t claim all the irrigation water.

          Looks like my next outdoor project is to weedproof the ground under the solar array. Weedcloth and a layer of 3/4-minus gravel might do the trick, maybe. There’s a 12MWe array we pass on the way into town, and they took zero measures to keep the grasses and weeds out of the way. Too low to mow, so it might get interesting…

      2. I got me a scraper box, because weed-killer is basically illegal in Ontario. My driveway is short compared to yours, but it was becoming one with the lawn. It is amazing how fast gravel disappears around here.


        I did not pay that much money for mine either. Cost a little more than the rent on a Bobcat, which is how I did it last time.

        So now, couple hours of scraping and I have a driveway again. ~:D Extra bonus, snow clearing in the winter. No more freezing my butt off behind the snowblower.

        1. One of the nicer implements for the Deere was a 6′ snow plow blade. (WorkSaver company, purchased through an independent dealer in town.) I have a back blade on the tractor to counterbalance the front blade, and if I have the angles right, I can use the pair to plow snow downhill no matter which way I’m going on the road.

          If we follow through with a hydrostatic transmission tractor in a couple of years, I’ll see about the hydraulic kit for blade angle setting.

          1. Highly recommend the hydraulic cylinder for blade angle and one for pitch as well. I have a little class 1 New Holland (around here they call them “compact” tractors, otherwise known as city-boy tractors) the machine is perfect for what I need but the manual settings do slow things down. If I had a lonnnng driveway I’d be thinking about putting hydraulic links on the top and one side of the three point hitch.

            As it is, manual is good enough. I carry a wrench and adjust as needed. Taking time to change the blade gives me extra time to think about what I’m doing, reduces screw-ups.

            1. Since the front blade is on the loader arms (also a compact tractor, but the big ranchers use them for little jobs when a full-cab tractor is unsuitable or flat out impossible), I have full control of tilt. With our Cascade Concrete snow, there’s limited angles that work well. The WS blade uses a hitch pin with 5 holes; I usually use center, mild left and mild right. Full left or right can push me out of the snow pile.

              The Deere 790 (long obsolete) is in the same class as the NH. Didn’t like the NH/Case-International dealer, so we went green. Around here, it’s Deere and New Holland (and some rubber track Cats) for big stuff, with Deere, NH and Kubota having most of the compact market. Some oddities, LS and Branson and the rare Jinma are around. One neighbor has a Branson. Seems to be working for him..

              1. Years ago an uncle had an under tractor mower deck for a Farm-all or Allis-Chalmers. (I can never keep those straight; maybe from never have seen a new one.) It was sweet! Later he purchased a behind the tractor one that was just as smooth cutting. The PTO (power take off) came into a tall beige box and the mower deck was a mild orange color; I don’t think I ever knew the brand name. Both of those cut like a lawn mower, not a bush hog, in that they were smooth and even; my daddy would actually accept the results if they were used on his lawn.

                1. The YMCA camp where my father worked from the 60s to the 80s used a small Cub Cadet tractor with an under-tractor mower deck for their lawn-type grass areas.

  9. In many ways, I’m a country boy…but not this one. When it comes to lawn care, I’m a born apartment dweller.

  10. You watch…give Sarah enough time and energy and she’ll have a horizontal trellis with grape vines on top. Saw those when I was in Porto in 2010, and thought it was the neatest arrangement.

    1. I’ve tried to do it in every house we lived in. In the last one nothing grew. This one, I haven’t yet, but it will come. I want it over the downstairs porch.

      1. Do want pergola! …First, I must figure out the patio we’ll have. Second, I need to get that laid in, and the pergola bought or built. Then, try to keep something alive sufficient to growing up and becoming shade.

        Finally, fighting with the hummingbirds to be able to sit outside. Someday!

  11. Down here, August is best known as “we water, weed, and hope for survival” month. To be followed by “oh lordy, where are we going to put all these tomatoes!?!” month. Except we don’t have any tomatoes this year. I don’t miss them in the least. A year off is to be cherished.

    1. I am more than a little p-ssed that the rose “Matchless Mother” succumbed to the heat. That one was so pretty, and was just starting to really get settled in, then *BAKE* that was that.

      1. Aww. *hugs* my sympathies! My tomatoes and patty pan squash are on hospice… again… and the dill and fennel died. I think all I’m good for is sage, rosemary, thyme, bolted basil and mint. The tarragon might yet make it, but the parsley all bolted long ago.

        I can’t even get zuchinni to grow without succumbing to some blight or other. I dunno what I’m doing wrong, but it may be time to actually put some effort into it next spring.

        1. I used to get zucchini to grow quite well, but I’m beginning to suspect this yard (I moved into my parents’ house after my father died) realizes I’m not my dad, and is refusing to grow such things with any success to speak of..

    2. We count on a lot of tomatoes when weather cooperates. $SPOUSE tells me that the Siletz tomatoes are getting big, but as usual, nothing is turning red just yet.

      When they ripen, we get out the dehydrator and put up 4-6 half-gallons of dried tomatoes. On a really good year, we’ll get some fresh before dehydrating time.

      1. Do you find it necessary to blanch them before dehydrating? Going to have way more than I can eat, assuming they beat the frost, and was just gifted a dehydrator…

        And apparently tomatoes can naturalize in Montana; from last year’s overwhelming crop, much of which froze and wound up as mulch, I have volunteers *everywhere*, apparently impervious to every sort of neglect and abuse short of being yanked up outright, and some are pretty well loaded up with fruit. One that grew in the middle of the path gets walked on regularly and doesn’t seem to mind. Others don’t get watered and still got huge. I’m fairly sure they’re an alien life form.

        1. I tried growing tomatoes in Arizona once. The cherry tomatoes came out like berries, the regular ones came out like cherry tomatoes. Talk about STRONG flavor.

          Apparently, watering is key. ~:D

        2. No, we just rinse the tomatoes, cut into uniform slices (wedges for the Romas) and dehydrate away. On our smaller Nesco unit, it takes about 24 hours to do a batch of 6 trays. About halfway through the run, I’ll shuffle the trays to reverse the order.

          1. Cool, thanks, that’ll save me a lot of bother. I have a Nesco too, tho with [counts] 18 trays. Whoever never used it before me (I’m at least its third owner) apparently had vast fantasies.

            Last year I planted some saved seeds from especially good storeboughts… produced well, but apparently dehybridized the parent… got some ordinary and some like Romas. By the bushelful.

            1. I used to have a bigger Nesco with a dozen trays. 8 seems to be optimum for what I did then. That one was donated to the thrift store when we moved. The smaller one seems happy with 6, though the mid-run tray reversal seems mandatory.

        3. One of the (many) houses we lived in when I was a kid (when I was in kindergarten I think) had a mound in the back of the back yard that every year would grow a giant, chaotic bush of volunteer cherry tomatoes. I LOVED them… So much so that one day I ate myself absolutely SICK on them. I’m nearing 50 now, and I STILL can’t eat cherry tomatoes (not raw anyway). I still love other kinds of tomatoes, although it is a toss-up if I can eat Roma tomatoes or not… They don’t exactly taste like cherry tomatoes, but there is some kind of similarity there that sometimes causes me problems.

  12. My landlord’s apartment management company is run by a nice guy, but he consistently scrapes the bottom of the barrel for his hires. This year, I have had the guys kill my wallflowers, the apartment roses, almost kill the apartment hydrangeas, and then kill my first planter of portulaca that was sitting on my stoop. So I moved my flower planters out front in top of my table, and they thrived — until a couple of weeks ago, somebody sprayed pesticide on my petunias and almost killed my portulaca. And they killed my second batch of wallflowers.

    And none of the weeds (which they were supposed to be aiming at) were discommoded in the least.

    Needless to.say, I have complained.

      1. They’ll have to sneak the carp past hospital security. And the nurses in Cardiology like me.

  13. I can feel your pain at how much got neglected. I’m in much the same position, After my spinal damage got worse and stopped me doing much in the garden I had to get a friend to look after most of it, including the complete removal of the lawn and its replacement by a path and flower beds. I can just about manage to do a bit of weeding and making small holes for small new plants, he does all the rest for me.

  14. One person’s weed is indeed another’s flower. When I had my house, I got a letter from the city stating that I had weeds growing around my garage etc., etc., etc. . . . The bureaurat who sent me the missive was apparently not impressed with my reply that I was cultivating wildflowers. I got sent a missive for an administrative judge hearing, which I somehow missed (anybody heard of Registered Mail?). It seems judges don’t like it when you ignore their summonseseses; the first time I became aware of the situation was on New Year’s Eve when I got pinched by the man on a fugitive warrant while my way to a party. When the inevitable ‘What are you in for?’ session occurred, I got some strange looks when I replied, “Not mowing my lawn”.

    1. We decided this year to let the back half of the back yard just grow wild to see what kind of wildflowers we’d get. It was a good season, so at the height it was very pretty with all kinds of stuff (sunflowers, evening primrose, etc.). Now I’m slowly mowing it down – my little rotary lawnmower isn’t happy dealing with six-foot tall grass!

    2. There’s a family down south of me that has to go before the city (not mine) every year because someone from Code Enforcement dings them for their property being “weedy.” And every year they take samples, a photo-display board, and plan of the landscaping to prove that they have a wildflower garden. I suspect it is the Big Bluestem and Indiangrass that are the problem (over 6′ tall.)

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