Archive for August, 2009

The Mantis

We don’t see this every day here so when we saw this pair I grabbed the camera. We don’t know if they are male and female or two of the same sex. We were hoping for some romance from this pair but it became apparent that these two were not interested in one another. For about 6 hours they simply just checked one another out. The larger green one decided to move on and the brown one stayed in the bush.

Bring on the Wet Stuff – Rain that is!

It’s 6:00 a.m. and I hear the sound of water overflowing a gutter.

The husband is up, dressed and down stairs. I hear the front door open then I drift off back to dream land. Well, that lasted a whole 20 minutes when I hear it pouring down rain and the overflowing gutter – this would be the neighbors gutter not ours – I figure I better get up and go check things out.

There shall be nothing more beautiful than the reflection of water in a rain garden. Yes, even in the dark.

There is nothing more pleasing that a swale that runs and removes unwanted water so it may not end up in your drain tiles in which your sump has to work extra hard to pump it out. This my friends is how my morning started and indeed to was going to be a beautiful day – Mother Nature you can bring it on – rain that is.

Mother Nature did bring it on and the husband shot these of the swale this morning while I was at work. Yes, in the rain which is why there are no photos of the rain garden. Water and a camera not made for such wet outings don’t mix well. The camera is working – kinda – at the moment since it had enough time to dry out – sort of. For your pleasure as well as mine, and a huge thank you to “B”, one working swale.

As I write this my ghetto neighbors are having a ghetto moment. I will not repeat what is being shouted, from across the street, for your ears may burn and fall off.

It’s soooo NOT Working

Now I have posted about how hot and dry it was here – and over the last couple days we have had some bouts of rain. Nothing to get real excited over, I will tell you, until yesterday afternoon.

We have been waiting for some sort of rain event to test the swale. Yesterday when the heavens opened up and it poured like a mother, well…we have major issues with the swale. There is not one, but 2 low spots. From this point on, the swale has a new name – “The Damn Swale”.

I realize that since the side yard was tilled it has not rained enough to start settling the dirt, so what appeared to look like it should work, became apparent that it does not. So after lunch the husband and I grabbed rakes and shovels and began to address the low spots. Yes, this would be in the pouring rain. We shaped, smoothed, and shoved the damn swale. We must have looked like two complete morons to the cars that would pass by.

We did get the damn thing moving – kinda – but in the process had collected – on the bottoms of our boots – two inches of nasty sliminess (which I call mash potatoes) – a completely saturated clay soil mix.

This crap adhered to our boots – which as you walk – picks up everything you step on. So now there are tree twigs, gravel and other various crap mixed in the clay mash potatoes which now has just added to my frustration because the damn water will not move through the one part of the swale. I snapped at the husband because, well, I was frustrated and he happened to be there. Yes I did apologize for my little outburst.

I will be calling “B” to bring the transit over and find out exactly where this thing is failing and fix it.

As you can probably tell I am more concerned with the property next door than our own. The damn swale needs to work so that our sumps are not working over-time to drain all the water that is getting held up between the two houses. AHHH the frustration!

Now on a happy note: Rain garden one is working and oddly enough it is only roughed in. The downspout is not even set up properly.

The sweet peat is coming in on Monday and the weather is cooler. The husband and I went tree/shrub shopping yesterday after it stopped raining and we are deciding which shrubs would be best for the space. Should it be Red Dogwoods or Witch Hazel?

It looks like rain again.
Great. Just great.

Festive Times

There is a crap load of stuff that has gone on since a week ago Tuesday.

Some leveling and back filling:

Some placement of barn stone and flag stone:

Some plants (no not ours – Damn!):

The party, well, what happened there – stays there.

As far as the swale, rain gardens and landscaping go, well – at this point we are at a stand-still until Ms. Mother Nature drops these day time temperatures a tad bit more. There is no way in hell I am plating anything in 84 – 89 degree temps – not including the heat index. I found out today I’m not the only one waiting for cooler temps in order to achieve some green. One of my customers is waiting to plant an entire back yard. Fat chance either one of use will be planting anything in the near future.

This past weekend was lost. Lost that is to the husbands class reunion. I won’t say how many years – as that would not be polite. However, it would have been nice for him to attend the very weekend function he and 3 of his classmates slaved over for the last year to make happen. The husband had to work. One of those rare weekends that only happen when – lets say a very good friend is getting married and you have to miss it because you have to work. Yes, it has been about 2 years since this last happened. He did make the last 45 minutes – just in time for a quick hello to a few remaining folks and then help with clean up. However, there was the after party.

What was very cool though is that the husband and I are very close with the crew who helped put this thing in motion. What I got out of the deal was 2 surrogate husbands for the weekend. How cool was that? One from a friend, and one was an old classmate with no date. I was one lucky lady.

Back to this festive thing, people – I don’t know about you, but the husband and I cannot do the staying up until 3:00 a.m. anymore. Pathetic I know, but we just can’t do it. Knowing that 2 dogs will have us up at 7:00 a.m. to be fed and let out makes one think twice about how much participating in the festivities one is going to do. It has taken the last 3 days actually start feeling normal again. Thank goodness I was off on Monday and Tuesday because to be honest the only thing I did that was remotely exciting was researching native plants for the rain garden. The rest of the time was either spent napping, staring into space, staring at a wall…I think you get the picture. The worst part is that I did not have one drop of beverage – cranberry juice straight up only – Saturday night. You all thought I over-indulged? Admit it. I think that it just might be possible that I would have felt better had I at least had a couple of drinks.

List of remaining stuff to do:

  • order sweet peat
  • connect new down spout to proper connecting parts – rain garden no 1
  • plant grass – neighbors side
  • purchase shrubs and native plants
  • amend the bottom of rain garden 1 and 2 – this will be on going I have a feeling – get mulch and blue stone

Who Turned on the Light?

When the husband and I first moved here there seemed to be this aura around our home. It was this beacon for strays who had lost their way. Some how these animals would find their way to us and we in turn would do everything we could for their well being. Helping them find their way back home or a new home.

I’m not sure what is different but since we had dug up the front yard it is happening again. I’m thinking it is possible that the last bit of negative energy had finally been shoveled from our home.

Continue reading ‘Who Turned on the Light?’

It’s a Heat Wave!

Why was this the weekend that mother nature decided 90 degree temps was a good idea?

Doesn’t mother nature know that we are in the middle of this project?

I guess not since it is 89 degrees with a 97 degree heat index.

As you all know I don’t do this weather well, I can’t stand it and makes me very irritable. However, there is stone to move and get in place so in spite of this heat we moved ahead till about 12:00 this afternoon when I said “enough”. The husband and I ate some lunch, the husband went at it till 1:45 and he was done for the day.

While the weather was cool over this past week every night after work I would move dirt, worked on my neighbors back side of his house – regrading – and put the plants he dug up in their proper place. Moving dirt is not very exciting or worthy of photo’s.

The husband and I took Saturday off for we had some guest to entertain. A steak dinner was in order for the occasion. I needed to satisfy my carnivorous appetite yet keep dinner light. So T-Bone steaks were on the menu with tomato, mozzarella, basil side dish followed by grilled peaches & vanilla ice cream for dessert. I almost forgot the most important part – wine.

Sorry there are no photo’s, between preparing and then the best part eating, there was no time for the food to strike a pose.

During dinner I actually tried a new wine that our friends brought. I found this wine to pair up very nice with red meat. It is “Ancient Vine” Zinfandel. This is a heavier wine, thick, but full of flavor. It is very different than “Old Vine” which I do not care for due to the chewiness, peppery, thin, kinda bitter taste it has. “Old Vine” is what the husband likes and of course I prefer the “Ancient Vine”, go figure.

Some photo’s of progress from today:

Rain Garden No. 1:

Run off area between the two areas:


This where I had stopped working.

Outer Edge of Rain Garden No. 2:

Note: I do not know why these photo’s look like something the Mars Rover took, except It is bloody hot!

Update on the Swale, the Rain Gardens and the Weekend

It has been crazy busy here.

The husband tilled the front yard and the swale then the rototiller broke. First the bolt of the leg snapped then the cable let go. Lucky he had already put in 6 hours of tilling prior to the tiller taking a dump. I wasn’t that upset about it because we were headed to our favorite Czech place for dinner when I got home from work any way.

Dinner was great some beef medallions in the very light, creamy, lemon, dill sauce with spatzles on the side. This was the 1st time the husband and I ordered the same meal. The husband got to try the Czech beers he requested and was not disappointed. I even tried a sip and it does not taste like American beer at all nor does it smell like it. I would say that Bakalar’ beer is a must try for those who are into foreign beverages. Needless to say it was a very late night but loads of fun especially when you are in such great company.

Since someone had a little bit too much fun the night before and we wont say who that was, when I got off of work Saturday afternoon we headed for some lunch and shopping. Since it is the beginning of the month I was wiped out and had my self a little siesta when we finished our running around. I love Saturday afternoon naps. It was a very laid back kinda night and at 10:30 p.m. we were both down for the count. Don’t say it, I know 10:30 but hey I am not as young as I once was and I no longer have to stay up because I can.

With both of us getting some much needed rest we were up and at it by 7:00 a.m., crazy I know on a Sunday no less, but there was lost time to make up and much work ahead of us. Back for more tilling with a different tiller and wow, we actually took that crap for soil and actually made it usable. I have to be honest I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to pull this off.

With the dirt tilled we finally got to start shaping the rain gardens and roughing in the raised beds. Okay that is what I was doing for about 4 hours today. That was not before the side swale was taken care of. With the threat of rain almost every day this week that was our biggest concern. My days have turned into almost 14 hours of non-stop work. Work the day job then get home to work on the side yard and front yard.

So from this:

To this rain garden 1 & 2:

Reshaping the swale:

Now I need a shower.


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