ravensgarden: (snakeflowerR)
[personal profile] ravensgarden
Had some family trauma this winter. Am having difficulty with the homestead. Being outside in small bursts has helped, but I can’t seem to deal with larger projects, and there are many that needed to be completed like last week.

The weather has been weird. Our tornado season is normally March thru October. We have had at least one tornado in Dec, Jan and Feb. WEIRD. The storm shelter has proven invaluable. The thing I love about it that I did not anticipate is that you don’t have to close the door until the last minute. It has an overhang that keeps rain other than west facing rain away from the door… you can go in and NOT be closed in. IT IS FABULOUS.

Early in January I took down the Christmas lights, and put one of my gifts to myself (birdhouses and bird feeders) inside the wreaths. I have Carolina wrens everywhere, and several are fat and eggy. One of them likes the front porch, so I thought I would give her a possible nesting site.

1  photo front1_zps115c82e8.jpg

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I have since pulled it down and put a copper portal guard on it to keep the squirrels from chewing into it. I have two bluebird houses to put up once the burn pile is gone.

We had a day of rain, but… although it did not seem like much in the capture buckets, but as far as the spring goes… it filled the road overflow culverts, and apparently raised the ground level water table so the spring started running.

3  photo spring3_zpse41cf148.jpg

4  photo spring5_zpsd98fa3c8.jpg

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As the water run off slowed, the drainage cleared up

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Seeing the spring run… was beautiful

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I love this spring!

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Still, the ground is so saturated with water that it is heaving in the frost/thaw cycle. I can walk on it when it is still frozen in the mornings, but when it thaws, footing is treacherous. I am sitting on a pile of loose sloppy mud.

The footing is much safer in the woods, and as winter is the only snake free time to explore, I walk in the woods a lot.

In January I was exploring the woods on the road side (front of property, where the house is) of the spring, and ran across an area of garbage/wash. As I have already found a meth lab on my property, I knew I needed to call drug enforcement. When they came out, he examined the area, the way it washed, the contents, and told me he did not think it was drugs, but someone who was in the habit of dumping their car garbage on my property. One of the bottles he kicked up is not made anymore. It snowed again before I could get that area cleaned up.

On Jan. 15 we had a snow storm, that this time was predicted. My birdies however trusted that I was going to come through for them.

11  photo bir10_zps58b2b008.jpg

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When it dried out a bit I took a garbage bag out to the garbage dump area to start cleaning it up.

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Took me about an hour of huffing up and down that steep hill above the bottom of the spring, and I still could not reach all of the trash, and mountain dew bottles out there.

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The area is a lot of scrub and bramble thickets (that the birds LOVE) so it is really only accessible in the winter until I get it thinned out.

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Still, it looks better cleaned up. This is looking to the east toward the house from the spring area. You can just see the cabin through the trees at the top. The garbage dump area is out of this picture but to my right, or north.

17  photo hill5_zpsdb0c59c1.jpg

While I was out there, I found a majik tree *grin*

18  photo tree_zps8c9ea9e1.jpg

At the end of Dec I started piling the old dirt from the tomato pots around the big shale rock to start the shale garden, so I could plant the Tahiti orange and yellow daffodils around it. I also seeded orange butterfly weed, orange milkweed, orange turks cap lilies, showy evening primrose

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I knew I needed a rock border to keep the soil in place, but I needed to get the bulbs in the soil as soon as possible. I have been picking up rocks to place around the lump of dirt surrounding the big shale rock. I let them wash in the rain before placing them, but lately I wanted to FINISH the garden.

It was like working a jigsaw puzzle with no pieces that fit. A real life size artistic puzzle of color and texture.

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Most of the rocks came from around the property; I wanted it all to be shale. Some of it however came off the gigantic rock that is the center of this garden. When the snow and ice came, pieces split off of that rock and some of them made the border rocks.

24  photo shaleg4_zps114f124c.jpg

Under that globular lump of shale on top of the flat rock (that lump came from my sister’s house btw) is sitting on top of a place where two shards split off after the snow and ice. Those two pieces ended up in the edging here:

25  photo shaleg7_zps1fe2d5ae.jpg

I finished it yesterday. All four sides:

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27  photo shaleg2_zps59673c44.jpg

28  photo shaleg4_zps8dd76cdc.jpg

29  photo shaleg5_zps15017d9a.jpg

When I was placing the smaller stones, I noticed this:

30  photo tahidaff_zps1a1475e1.jpg

The other daffodils are up and growing, but these were only planted in December, I did not expect growth this soon. Nothing is coming up yet on the storm shelter, but the bulbs and iris that were planted in the driveway flowerbed have broken dormancy. They were planted in October.

31  photo bulbs1_zps6d88fc70.jpg

32  photo bulbs3_zps3722af53.jpg

When I noticed the daffodils I did a quick circuit of the property to see if anything else is coming up. This is either a weed, or the clump of bright pink phlox that I planted in the stacked stone flowerbed in front of the porch. It never bloomed after I planted it, but it was in the heat of a very hot dry summer.

33  photo phlox_zpsec6c4eb0.jpg

The purple emperor sedum in the big mama garden is also coming out.

34  photo sedum_zps953e60e7.jpg

No sign yet of the camassia planted around it.

It felt good to get that small garden finished. Some of the tasks that really need to be already finished are raised beds for veggies out back, trimming up and thinning out the wooded areas around the house, finishing burning the burn pile and distributing my top soil, finishing the rock patio and a less treacherous walkway down to the storm shelter. Walking down those cinderblocks and rocks in the pouring rain dragging two frightened dogs is difficult at best. The stones and flat pavers sink into the mud when it is raining. A drainage runnel is forming from the sides of the storm shelter hump, and it runs through the walkway to get to the shelter. I need to widen that area, and put gravel in it to drain faster, and to stabilize it.

I hope to get most of those tasks done by the end of February. One of the weather gurus in the state reported last week that he expects one more snow/ice event in Feb, and tornadoes before the end of it. I thought March was the in like a lion month?
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