Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Morning Walk

By the calendar, it is suppose to be fall however it has hard to tell from the temperatures. The two days after fall officially arrived the temperature was in mid to upper 90's. The shorter days and subtle changes in leaf color are sure clues however. The annual bombardment by acorns has also begun. Ali has a definite taste for acrons and I have already found some in the house half eaten. I have never seen a dog who loves to eat them the way she does.

Last night was like a summer evening. The hunidity was very high and it was a nice balmy 78 deg at 9:00 p.m. The frogs were singing so loudly I expected to see a chorus perched on the rocks. When I spotted the one close to the house that was responding to the calls of the frogs at the big pond, I was surpirsed that one little frog could be so loud. A little later several other frogs joined on the chorus.

I have not gone to walk at my favorite park /wildlife refuge for a couple of weeks. Work and other priorites seem to put a halt to my visits. This morning was a little cooler so I went for a biscuit and went on to the park before too many folks arrived. For about the first 30 minutes I had the park to myself. The quiet and peace were wonderful.

As I was walking to the back marsh area, I noticed a bird insect hunting and was delighted to see this Great Crested Flycatcher. As they are generally a migratory bird in this area I figured they had left for the year. The pair that was in this park did nest this year which was wonderful.

I walked very quietly to the marsh area having camera at the ready. I almost did not see the first young deer until I was up on it. A couple of shots and then it moved on. As it was walking on, another youg deer came out. Although in the picture it looks like it may be the mother of the fawn, it was still a young deer and and very faint white markings left on the haunches. It is standing on a raised area so it just looks more like an adult doe.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Project Update

I went to work today but left a little over an hour after being there. I did not feel well most of last night and had very little sleep. I came home and hit the bed for a couple of hours. I did not imagine any work would get done today but late this afternoon to my surprise a couple of friends stopped by to help move some large rocks I wanted moved.

They agreed to stay for a burger so off to the store I went. I consider that very cheap labor. I will have to have them over one night for a steak dinner.

The progress that was made surprised me. I can begin to see what I envisioned when I first started. It will still take a little time to get that grown in look but it is a start.

I had a hard shell pre-formed pool from long ago but it was still in excellent condition. I wanted to use this as an area for bog type plants. They set the pool and piled some rocks up around it. The big thing they helped me with was moving the large rocks to visually connect the fountain and the bog area. Love the umbrella palm.
This picture is of the large rocks they moved for me. I think that it helps connect the two so it doesn't look like one area sitting off by itself.
They planted some of the plants that I had which helped. Not a big contribution but I did manage to cut and and lay out the weed block so some mulch could be spread. Still need more mulch and another roll of weed block.

The next big thing will be to get new landscape timbers and get those in place. I also need to get some new lattice for the base of the deck. The wood lattice that was there had long seen its better day so I believe I am going to try the plastic or PVC whatever it is.

The frogs have already found the new location and seem to like sitting on the rocks. Late this afternoon as we were sitting and eating, a bird came up and had a good time bathing in the rock. Glad they all seem to like the new environment.

Tonight is going to be an early to bed night. Hopefully with a good nights sleep I will feel better.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Garden Fountain Progress

Today was a real show on progress. I was determined to figure out a way to move the big rock (probably a couple of hundred pounds as it is dense granite). All progress was stopped until this was accomplished. I applied the concept of work smarter, not harder. I sat and studied the 22 feet I had to move the rock over both gravel and earth.

A little ingenuity can go a long way to accomplish a task so I looked around to see what materials I had on hand that could be used. Using the principles of leverage I was able to load the rock on a falt bed dolly. I placed a brake of a heavy cinder block every few feet in case I lost control.

Leap frogging the flat surface pieces I had to get to the new site it went smoothly. Once the rock was at the new position, I continued using leverage to slide the rock along two 2 x 4's that I had wet and soaked down with dish washing detergent to aid in sliding.

When I got stuck, I went and found a couple of pieces of steel pipe. That was the ticket. I could then easily get it in position. I am going to add more rocks around the edge in a little more free form design to hide the squareness.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Disappearing Fountain Update

Over the last couple of days I have made fairly good progress on some of my projects. Today I did not do too much as I think I overworked some back muscles. My body revolted when I tried to do much of anything today.
I did manage to finish all of the deck chairs. Boy are they blue! I even managed to find some blue spray paint very close to the color so I sprayed the large umbrella holder also. There will definitely be a splash of color even in the drab of winter.

Progress on the fountain is sort of slow but I am improvising as I go. All of the good size kits ranged from $250 - $300.00 +. Absolutely crazy. I had a large piece of high quality liner and have several pumps and filters so I figured I could make it work.

When I first began, I just dug a hole to the desired size and layed in the liner. However, the soil was very loose and the sides kept sliding in. I felt it needed to be a little more stable. So I popped up to the Depot and found some treated lumber where they had culled smaller pieces from some larger lumber that had warped or split. My big lumber purchase was $16.00.

I cut to desired size and made a frame. Lined the bottom with an old piece of carpet and layed in the liner. The big rock with a hole in the center will fit on the four small bricks. I am filling around with field stone and once I get it close to the top, I will cover with the pretty river rock.

I will keep one side under the rock open for easy access to the pump if needed. I have a couple of nice large flat rocks that I will use to cover so if I need to get quick access I will not have a lot of rocks to move. Hopefully I can line up a couple of folks to help me move the big rock so I can finish up and get to the fun part of arranging the plants. I still have to put down the weed block before I can do that.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Projects Galore!

After a very long hot summer, fall is right around the corner and too many projects around the house have gone undone. From Saturday through Tuesday, all work and no play

I stopped by HD on Friday coming home from work and purchased a new gas powered pressure washer. The small electric one I had was not hitting on much. With a small snag Saturday morning, I had to go back to the Depot but they exchanged a bad part for me. A little side trip to the Farmer's Market then back home (okay, a little play).

It took me most of the day to clear the deck and wash it along with the siding around the back. By nightfall, I was whipped. After a shower, I did go ahead and get 2 gallons of stain/weatherproofer to be ready for in the morning. Sunday morning the deck felt good and dry so I started. After the first big roll of stain I though what the heck. I have always used Cedar Natural color and this was way more red. Looked at the label....redwood. Since I had already done a large section, I took the one gallon of Cedar Natural back for another gallon of redwood. All I can say is I hope it tones down in a couple of weeks.

The chairs on the deck I have always stained. This time, I decided I wanted a splash of color. For darn sure they are going to be blue. I am going to have to go back for some more paint. The chairs are sucking it up. Tomorrow, I will alternate between painting and the next project.

Red deck, blue chairs and white siding, at least it is patriotic. Maybe add another color for a little more variety?

The dead and dying flower sad. My small ornamental fish pool (frog pool and Ali's swinning pool is more like it) is directly across from the flower bed. Between the racoons and Ali, I long ago gave up on fish. Even though there is a pump and filter, without the fish to keep mosquito larve in check, I have had that issue.

During the last two weeks I have been scouring books and the internet for disappearing fall/fountain ideas. I have a really nice large stone I have been using so that will be the centerpiece. It has a hole in the center to run a hose up and a hollowed out center that the birds love to use for a bird bath. The plants I am going to select will all be perennials and offer what the birds or butterflies like. Also included are going to be several native grasses.

Lower down in the bed, I am going to fix a bog type area for all those plant types that like to have wet feet. Stay tuned for progress updates.