Archive for June, 2010

99 Luftbaloons!
 


Just posting this for your listening pleasure in case you didn’t see it in my tweets. Nena redid her classic “99 Luftbaloons” at some point last year. Now it’s apparently a mix of French and German, why I don’t know. Too bad there wasn’t an “Engrish” version!

Weeds And Ivy Everywhere!
 

So Boot Camp #1 is over, ended last Friday actually. I’ve een trying to get a post out since then. A second one is in August which I fully intend on attending. I like the structured setting and being forced to just work and think :) Plus I like that I’m out of the house and away from distractions. This time they gave me an actual anthropology faculty member as my “writing adviser.” He was great and gave amazing feedback too. I’m hoping for the one in August that it will be close enough to the fall semester that my committee members will be on campus and can get involved. My aim is to have as close to a final draft by then as well. This thing weighs as much as I do at this point!

If you haven’t heard, the Philadelphia region, and much of the east coast, is having a little heat wave right now. As such I have not been out in the yard much. Heat and me don’t mix. I don’t melt, I just end up with migraines. I did take a day to finally chop down the rest of the weeds in front of the garden area. I took out the day lilies and real plants too. But they were so infested with weeds (and trash!) that I was over them. I told John that I am fully scrapping everything that isn’t a tree or bush, I want a blank slate and next year he can decide to plant whatever he wants (but has to upkeep it!)


My Topsy Turveys are progressing nicely. I have several flowers on the tomato plants, so I’m hoping for some fruit soon. I also added a Topsy Turvey Tree which has 2 types of eggplant and a third tomato plant. I really don’t know what I’m gunna do with all this stuff! I attempted to plant stuff in the ground, but not much is going on. I will admit I haven’t been watering the ground much though :)

This is the backside of the house and a window in a kitchen nook that looks out over the barn/garage/barnyard/garden area. As you can see it’s a nightmare too! With the heatwave this has become what I will probably tackle next, because it’s in the shade most of the day as is. There actually is a blocked off garden area under all that mess. You’ll notice a lot of “dead” to the left, that was my doing. The hose hookup is back there and I decided I didn’t want to walk through tick-ville to get to it. I hacked at the weeds/vines to make a path, then doused everything with weed killer :) My plan for this area is the same with the others . . . . everything goes! It’s like a going out of business sale, except we are getting out of the white trash business. I bought 4 bags of mulch today and after I clear it out will add that in to keep things from coming back. The leftovers I plan to use out front and on the side of the house. I’m sure I’ll need more. Luckily it’s cheap, like 4 bucks for the giant ass bags.


The front yard. Yeah . . . I told you it was all a nightmare. I actually played around here a bit this weekend till I couldn’t take it anymore cause of the heat. I pulled a lot of the Ivy down (like around the columns and porch, did a lot of weeding, then just gave up :) Oh I did free the flag. John has a new one that one day I’ll maybe get around to putting up too. A lot of the stuff on the side where the flag is is actually Wisteria, so I’m not allowed to touch that otherwise I’ll get beaten. Though it too has gotten out of hand (and is strangling a tree next to the house actually).

I have decided once I get the whole place looking nice, I’ll add a touch of white trash back in. Garden gnomes anyone? I just wish they still made Granny’s Fannies!

PS, yes the Christmas snowflake lights are still up. I am too chicken to climb up on a ladder to take them down. Knowing me I’d probably fall too. Unfortunately I don’t think they all work anymore after the insane winter they went through. Plus one I know is frayed, cause one of the snow flakes fell off!

Uma Thurman You Are Not Sexy Anymore!
 

So after all that yard work last weekend . . . I ended up with a nasty case of poison ivy. It had been years since I had it, and I had forgotten just how horrible it is. After a very itchy week, it’s finally drying up . . . and now I have scabs all over my arms and legs that just look lovely! Since this came about I have not really done much yard work. I’ve been going out and spraying the weeds that have tried to pop back up, and watered what I planted. I put eggplant in the ground, which may have been a mistake. They don’t look to well right now, bugs have eaten a lot of the leaves. I have since sprayed them with some garden safe bug and disease stuff. The sunflowers I put down are just now coming up, and I planted a bunch of zinnias in pots out front which are sprouting. Hoping to do a little more work sometime this coming week. I want to tackle the front of the house for a change.

My writing boot camp started last week. So far so good. There is one more week left, then another 2 week one in August I plan to sign up for. I am determined to get everything done this summer and am now delaying rewards as incentive. As of yet no January vacation has been booked. Originally I had said with the economy and until I knew what my job outlook looked like for Fall and next Spring there would be no booking. Now my job situation looks okay. However I’ve decided I’m still not booking anything. When I defend, booking that January vacation is the reward :) Other little things I want to buy (videogames) and big things (the new iPhone) are rewards for good progress done with chapter edits, rewrites and stuff.

That’s about all I have to say for now. Until my next check in, which hopefully will find me itch free!

Uma Thurman played the character of Poison Ivy in one of the Batman films, which is where the title of the post came from.

Weekend Yard Work Progress
 

So yeah, I got a lot done. I had it in my mind I would get more done than I did, but I also didn’t plan to get sunburned to hell and back and end up with such sore muscles . . . but what a workout!

Above are shots of what the barnyard garden area now looks like. You can compare with some of the earlier shots in the two posts previous to this one. Where to begin? After spraying with weed killer for a few days, then going in and chopping 4 foot wilting poke weeds down, I had my work cut out for me. After I cleared everything away from the fence, I took down the old metal wire fence that was nailed to the wooded one. That was fun . . . NOT! The wooden fence , as you can see, is in need of repair if it is to stay.

The old dog house was too heavy for me to lift out, and I didn’t feel like tearing it apart at the moment. I ended up putting it in the corner where the groundhogs like to dig and make a mess. I filled in their holes first and then put it right on top. Hopefully they’ll find somewhere else to go now.

The compost bins I set up in the back, and they are full. I ended up making a large pile in the back which you can also see. Originally it was old tree branches and saplings I cut down that I was going to have hauled off, but I ended up just turning it into a compost pile with all the crap I cleared out from the garden area that I had no place to put. Hopefully it will cook down, we’ll see!

I moved the topsy-turveys into the garden along the back fence, they were out in front of the whole area, which you can see in a post below. You can also see how many saplings I had to cut down in that photo as well. I know that’s not very green, but the lack of yard upkeep has caused them to shoot up all around the house and they have to go, otherwise they’ll take down the house and garage eventually.

I ended today with tilling as much of the soil in the garden area as I could and trying to level everything out. Between the gopher holes, the giant roots of weeds I had to split and dig out, and probably old crop roots that were still down there . . . the ground is anything but level. I put down a bunch of weed preventer and am going to just let it settle for a few days. I have a few bags of organic garden soil and garden manure to eventually put down and then work in. Then I can try and plant a few things . . . though yeah it’s late in the season. I have a few plants I bought that just have to be transplanted.

The one thing still left is the weeds by the front of the fence, which are all mixed in with the over grown spider ferns (or whatever those plants are). I am gunna have to cut them down and then see how bad the weeds are. I might end up ripping them all out. Along the other two sides of the fence I put down some sunflower seeds to see what, if anything, might happen. Again, I know I’m off to a late start :) Really I just want to clean the yard up so that come next year we can plant and make it all look nice.

I had hopes to tackle more than the garden area this weekend, but that didn’t happen. The rock wall in first photo above used to actually be nice and full of pretty red and yellow flowers. Now ivy has overtaken the half nearest the house, and other weeds and brush the other side. The second photo is of the side of the house where they ivy has gone nuts. There actually is a cement porch under there, and at one time a stone walkway up to the terrace the rock wall creates. I tried to rake and cut the ivy out, but gave up after thirty minutes. Now I’m just soaking it with ivy and weed killer until it all dies and is easier to take out.

The weather on Sunday has cut into yard work and I ended early. It can’t decide if it wants to storm or what out, it’s just very windy and spitting some. My aching muscles need a rest anyways. TV is calling!

Compost
 

So I’ve added three new categories to the blog. Yard Work, House Work and Gardening. Because my regular life is so dull and blogless right now, these three things outside of work/school are all that I’m kinda doing (aside from hanging out and seeing movies with friends, which I guess I could post reviews of).

Today I bought two 120 gallon (I think?) composting bins. I figured I needed to do something with all this yard waste I was compiling, and dragging it to some dump site was not preferencial. John has a paper shredding fetish too, and we’ve just been recycling it all. Now I can add this in to the compost bins. I put them together today right before a friend came over, then we went to the movies. So I haven’t begun filling them. I’ll add photos of them to this post in the AM.

I have totally hacked away at the garden from the previous posts. Tomorrow I plan to dig up all the roots and hoe/rake the whole area clean. Then I’ll mix in some weed killer/preventer into the soil to make sure nothing comes back. The dog house I’ve flipped. It’s too heavy for me to move on my own, but so old and rotten I think I can demolish it and move it out piece by piece. Tomorrow I plan to clear out the whole garden, rake the ground smooth, and fill in all the gopher holes and stuff. Then I wanna put the bins in the corners and begin filling them. I’m not going to tear the fence down yet, but I am taking down the chicken wire that’s up along it (too hard to see in the photos). It’s just a weed enabler at this point.

My writing retreat for school begins next Monday. I’ve decided to use all day tomorrow to work in the yard. The weekend might bring storms, so I don’t know if I can do much then. I’ll begin preparing for the retreat then. When I start the retreat I know yard work will cease during the week as it’s an all day thing. I wanna clear out as much as I can before then and get these compost bins started. I’d like to move my tomatoes into the garden too for maximum sun. I’ve also got two pots of tomato seedlings I started I might be able to transfer into the ground soon, to give a good comparison to the topsy-turvey. Unfortunately it’s late in the season for planting, so I don’t know if I can start any other garden crops. Suggestions from experienced gardeners welcomed though!

Once the garden is sorted, I’ll start on the rest of the nightmare of a yard! I will have a beautiful garden again. I showed a friend photos of what it looked like years ago, she just said “WOW, what happened!”

I have a whole other post on an non-related note to make. Short version, I still have not set foot into the establishment, and it’s going on a year now. I am however doing their website once again. As I said, there is a reason/story behing it to tell.

From Left to Right First Row: The composting bins, A shot of the garden now, after rolling the doghouse out of the corner, a shot of the backside of the garden fence (the pile of twigs used to be by the fence and created a home for far too many critters, so it had to go)

From Left to Right Second Row: Two photos of the same areas above, just the after shots :) Oh and I guess I should have put sunblock on huh?

Not Even Chemlawn Can Kill This
 

Once upon a time our lawn looked really nice. John took care of it and was always planting stuff and making it look nice. Now however he doesn’t have time to do anything but work, and the lawn has gone to crap. So much so that people think old people live in our house, that’s how run down and scary it looks. I have for two years told John to hire landscapers, that I’d pay for it. Hell some work for the farm! But nooooo, he never would. Last year I started hacking away at some things to try and clean it all up, and hacked away some things I shouldn’t have. Oh well!



I recently moved my tomatoes together into the backyard where they get more sun. They get about 6 hours a day now, but probably need more. However there aren’t many options as to where I can get these shepard’s hooks into the ground well enough. The best place of course would be in the garden/barnyard behind them in the above picture. The barn had been converted to a garage long ago. Unfortunately, the garden area has become the worst and most overgrown area of all.


The second photo is actually after I hacked away and sprayed for two days with weed killer. The water weeds and such were over four feet high. It was NUTS. You can still see some wilted ones behind the back fence/dog house. I’m planning to go in later and start carting them away. There is so much I don’t know what to do with it, I’ll fill the measly yard waste cans I have in seconds. I wish I could just burn it all.

The fence around the whole area is a rotten falling apart mess. I have wanted for years to take it down. Gophers and ground hogs have dug under it so many times there is a mount in one corner. The dog house is 20 some years old too and needs to go.

I have a lot of work cut out for me! I’m making this and the yard my summer sanity project so I have something else besides writing and editing to do. Plus it should get me back into shape :)