If you can't beet 'em...

Justin happily harvested a good bunch of beets the other day.

Exposing the hidden beauty

We tore out the carpet in the guest room yesterday. Taking out the staples from where the pad had been attached to the floor was a little tedious, but also satisfying. Removing the tack strips along the edges that help the carpet in place was difficult at first but became easier with practice and the right tools. The floors are a gorgeous polished dark reddish honey color. The carpet pad left a waffle pattern across much of it which we need to clean off once we figure out the best way to do that without damaging the wood.

The baseboard needs some augmenting. For some reason the floor boards do not reach all the way to the baseboard (which sits on the subfloor, below the level of the flooring), so we are going to add a foot molding to the current baseboard. We thought of pulling the baseboard off and starting over, but it turned out to be a bear to take off, partly because it is partially below the surface of the flooring. I don't know if the picture really shows it that well.

We thought we might go ahead and paint too, while the furniture is out of there, so that's pretty much the agenda for this week, in addition to getting a cat and finishing our drip irrigation system for the veggies.

Mallow Maladies

The Coreopsis problem

So many sad plant symptoms...so few diagnostic tools

If only they could talk.

We bought a coreopsis at Annie's over a month ago along with some other drought-hardy annuals. The coreopsis has grown vigorously and is now about 3 feet tall with flower buds at the ends of many top branches. All of a sudden it has been losing its lowest branches. It's quite woody and the branches at the bottom are also fairly woody and sturdy and stretch out from the main stalk nearly parallel to the ground and are quite long. The pattern is that a branch goes all wilty without changing color or anything else, then it just falls out of its socket (where it attaches to the main stalk). It's very sad to see. The branches are opposite each other and so far I think it has lost three pairs of opposite branches, the two lowest pairs and the third lowest.

The other plants right next to it are fine. However, the giant mallow (yes, I know it is considered a weed and that it has a humongous tap root, but I think it's pretty) growing across the walkway from the coreopsis also experienced one lower branch drop. It happened before the coreopsis started losing branches, so I didn't pay that much attention at the time. But the mallow is also very woody with very wood sturdy branches. It hasn't lost any more, but I did notice that it's got some kind of thing causing little bumped dots on a lot of the large lower leaves. Pictures of all of it in the next post.

Like in so much of my gardening, I am adopting a wait-and-see attitude, only because I can't figure out anything else to do.

This is also my attitude about a number of weeds/volunteers coming up around the yard. If I don't recognize 'em, I let 'em grow so I can see what they turn out to be. I was letting a bunch of something grow that I thought was calendula but now that the buds are close to opening I no longer think so. Oh well.

Other garden notes: The tomatoes are getting so big they have completely outgrown the silly little cages we had put up with they were wee. Justin improvised some new cages from the fencing I took down a couple of weeks ago. They look like they'll work, but we didn't have enough fencing for all of them.

I tore out the rue after realizing that was what had caused a bad rash on Justin's arms. I also cut down most of the luxury snail accommodations a.k.a. calla lily patch, and spread worm castings under several of the fruit trees.

So much to learn and do! I'm excited to have more time to do it starting Monday.

More Garden Pix

One of the natives we bought at Annie's.
The leaf that I am holding in the 2nd picture is from a plant in a corner of the yard (3rd picture). It was completely bare at first. It has a lot of upright cane-like stems all coming from a central root area, and it is about 5-6 feet tall. Any ideas about it? It reminds me of a poinsettia. The prickly pear, of which we have been harvesting and eating the pads, is finally also producing fruit. Not a lot so far, but I'm hopeful. I'm in love with the walking onions, in multiple pictures below, not just because they look like crazy Dr. Seuss plants, but because they taste great, too!

Untethering the Fruit Trees

Another task I did recently (can't remember if it was one or two weekends ago) was to free all the trees of their multiple restraints. The number of ties and ropes and wires and cords was really so incredible that I began to suspect the previous owner of perhaps acting out his bondage fetish on the trees. As an incorrigible scavenger, I appreciated his re-purposing of so many things; however, my sympathy for the trees was greater. The pile of cords pictured with my foot were all taken just from the persimmon tree, pictured below. The belt, though, remains, as I could not untie it. The bucket includes ties from several trees.

Integrating Spaces

I recently took down one of the fences that had defined the dog area for the previous owners. It's interesting how hard it is to re-imagine space that has already been divided in a particular way. Slowly, I am beginning to imagine how to create the spaces in our yard that we want.

Justin has since managed to get all the rest of the posts out, discovering in the process that the irrigation pipe runs below them, along the side of the sidewalk back to the shed. Fortunately, no pipes were broken in the process of that discovery.

These pictures are from that day. Now the space looks a lot more connected, and it's saved me a lot of walking around and through the two gates.