Wallpaper

The living room  and hall way was covered with what I thought was wall paper then was later explained to me by the previous owner was some natural grass product that was glued onto the walls. It made me like it better and I think we would have lived with it for awhile as  we have bigger fish to fry. I was concerned about cat hair being imbedded into it (Paul is allergic) and also the owner would paint over the grass with a dilute paint so it made the whole point of wallpaper seem silly if you ended up painting it anyway. We ended up pulling it all out, mostly as a function of the damage left to it from the popcorn ceiling being removed. The adhesive used for that rips up wallpaper. Sigh.

I know thing is something that I will forget was even on these walls within a few years, so I am putting it here to help me remember. It felt ancient, both in a good and bad way.

We will replace it with a combo of paint in hallway, and some natural paper texture in living room with bamboo wainscoating. Stay tuned for upcoming pictures…not likely until Nov?

 

 

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Privacy side fence

New neighbors moved June and our quiet neighborhood has been overtaken by barking dogs and  a boy’s temper tantrums. I am not sure to be happy they are renters and not owners (and hopefully won’t stay long) or sad they are not home owners and might care more about their impact. It is out of my control I guess and I am glad that we put up this privacy fence.  The lower dark part of the fence was there when we bought the house and we just added the lighter top bamboo to make it a 6 foot fence.  In May we bought the humming-bird plants and honeysuckle and put them in the ground here.  The plan is for this to become a living wall to help buffer the visual aspect but maybe some of the sound too. I’ll post follow-up pictures below over time to show the growth. I am thinking it will take a year to fill out.  Hopefully it will be lush with yellow and red alternating flowers if we did it right!

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Artichoke

There was a sole artichoke strongly sprouting from the soil when we moved into the house in Dec. I love the flavor of them but don’t like all the work required to get to the goodness in the middle. Besides it is really just an excuse to eat butter.

I wanted to pull it. Paul wanted to grow it. So we let it grow very tall and it took up the whole raised bed. It went to seed and I hope the birds and bees enjoyed it. It was very pretty and dramatic. I think I sprouted love (and not for the plant)

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Lavender

Who knew there were so many kinds of Lavender? I now have at least 5 different kinds, including the culinary kinds. Simple yet complex.

They take little water, smells divine, and feeds all three pollinators in my yard: butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. A flower that is all of these things plus has a critical element for me- that I can use it too!

Perfection.

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Revealing the May Garden

So I’m sitting here in bed, in the dark… trying to not wake Paul while searching for something intriguing, empowering, or witty to say about the garden with only 18% battery left. Ah, I will just let it be what it is. I will just post the pictures so I can keep track of what is growing in each month.

All I know is that it taps something deep and lost inside of me, maybe lost inside of most of us. The sun on my skin, the warm soil between my toes, the green stained hand that smells of tomatoes. This is what really keep the world moving around and what keep me rooted.

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.” -Mary Sarton

Some of the carrots are big enough to eat. Some, not all.  That is a story for another day.

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I found a volunteer potato growing in the compost. Also the first pepper from the garden was picked the end of May ( one great for mole).

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Strawberries (and raspberries) started popping up all over the property towards the end of May and are small delicious bursts of tangy sugar.

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A husband is sprouting up next to the artichokes too!

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Harvested the first beet the last week of May. The asparagus is dwindling down to a few sticks every few days.

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Fuji tree with many baby fruits!

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Squash blossoms with a baby zucchini attached. Such a delicate flavor with just a bit of goat cheese slipped inside the petals and baked.

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My first pickle that looks like it can be used as a weapon.

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The first tomato appeared early May. By end of May all have flowers, and about half the plants have some fruits, even the many I grew from seeds.

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Baby pomegranate tree is fruiting!

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Tomatilloes exploded with the heat and flowers early May and husks that are filling by end of May

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The tomatillos are in pots and doing well here in full sun.

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Peach tree with only a few fruits.

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Hatching locusts leaving their creepy body shells all around.

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Too hot for kale- everything bolted. I was gong to let the kale go to see but the aphids took over. There were the only plants in my whole garden so far that became infected with any kind of insects so far.

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We discovered an apple tree along the side of the house. Turns out the squirrels already knew.

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Blueberries continue to slowly, ever so slowly, ripen.  I can eat one or two every now and then.

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Birds of Paradise were in full bloom all month. The one on the corner started a week or two in advance. By end of May they are shriveled up.

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What broccoli looks like in the heat…meaning over 80 degrees.  Bolted and flowered. I am going to see if I can snag some seeds and plant again in fall when cooler weather is here.

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Plantlets from seeds

I went a bit overboard this year on gardening.  I decided to save planning for next year and just grow stuff and see what happens.  I am prepared for a learning curve. I will just take whatever happens as information.

I planted seeds….lots of them. I figured maybe 50-70% would grow.

seeds

A couple of weeks later things are looking really good.

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Another week later, I realize every seed is a very happy plant.

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I didn’t expect so many to grow.

To make matters worse I bought some little plantlets  from the local nursery.  Two boxes worth to be exact to make up for what I though what wouldn’t grow, but did. About 25-30 plants actually. I am in much deeper than I intended.

So I gave some plants to friends.

Still, I have too many.  I planted them all anyway. I had flowers developing in plants that are still in their little 6 packs!

So as of last weekend (April 21), all plants are either in the ground or in the pot they will stay in all summer.

On Sunday night, it was getting dark and I was running around plopping tomato plants and peppers in every remaining garden spot I could find. With only 20 minutes of light left and no more garden space, I still had 12 tomato plants in their starter packs to be planted. I found a spot that we use for a work area and the ground is probably too rich with old horse manure and they are planted too dense to grow well.  In the ground they went anyway. I can pull the ones that seem like they will fall behind.

This is my surprise garden area….mostly because it was “Surprise, there was not a garden here 20 minutes ago and now  there it is” .  Also it will be both a surprise if any of them grow and since I mixed up the tags for these plants it will be a surprise to what kind of tomatoes they are ( I have 3 kinds from seeds).

Such rogue gardening.

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Wisteria

The white wisteria starts to bloom in March and is in full bloom by tax time.

I sit out here on some afternoons, with my laptop and tea, and work for the last hour or two of my day. Dappled warm afternoon sun, cool lazy breezes, the wisteria doesn’t have a chance to be smelled because the heavy scent of jasmine is nearby. Only the solid black bumblebees take notice of it’s delicate scent and cling to flowers that sag to one side due to the bees weight. Honeybees visit too. The air around the arbor vibrates with so many bees visiting at once. I have never had a single bee give me any trouble while I work. I wonder what wisteria honey tastes like.

Wisteria by Philip Levine
The first wisteria
I recall from boyhood hung
on a wire outside the windows
of the breakfast room next door
at the home of Steve Pisaris.
I loved his tall, skinny daughter,
or so I thought, and I would wait
beside the back door, prostrate,
begging to be taken in. Perhaps
it was only the flowers of spring
with their sickening perfumes
that had infected me…”

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I have an addiction

Many orchids in my house are blooming. These are an addiction of mine. Every one is so unique, especially now with the intragenic hybrids.

On a rainy day there is nothing better than looking at an orchid flower with its face toward the grey light unaware that that today isn’t just as fabulous as the last

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Tomatos

I was a bit zealous and planted a bit early this year. I have a few tomatoes that I bought as plantlets which were hit with frost a few weeks ago. The tops and edges were frost burned. Now they are thick stemmed and already flowering.

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

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Orange blossoms

The smell of orange blossoms is starting. A bright fruity smell that even smells sweet. It has characteristics of lilac or jasmine lays in heavy pockets in the air. We are lucky to have a few in our yard. Soon the air will be so thick with sweet fragrance we can spread it on our pancakes!

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