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I suppose it's a qualified success...

On so many fronts.

This year I tried to clean up/establish a garden in a controllable area.  I cleaned up everything, but focused my attention on one spot - the newly sunny space along side the driveway/garage.  Cleaned out the weeds, and I had put down mulch last year?  year before?  There was still reasonable mulch.  I planted black-eyed susans, coneflowers, and  bee-balm, and moved some volunteers from other parts of the yard.  The chipmunks promptly made it their purpose in life to burrow directly under all my new plants.  WTF?  It has become a daily battle - I go out, collapse the burrows, re-plant my plants (with what is left of their roots) and I water them well ever day.  Because we also have a drought going on.  I'm really frustrated.  I did it all right -  I picked hardy plants that will do well there, got them in the ground, watered them assiduously... and I'm being undone by a rat with racing stripes.  Infuriating.

The other qualified success is my foray into silk painting.  I've never done it before, so of course I started with an eight foot long standard to fly off the peak of my tent.  Yeah.  Nothing like a little over-reach for the summer.  It's... okay.  If it were going to fly at eye level I'd be very unhappy.  But it's going to be eleven feet up, so I'll live with it until I can do a better one.  I need to see if the clear gutta will actually wash out as advertised, because otherwise it wasn't worth the effort.  If it does, I need to figure out if my jar of clear gutta needs to be thinned, or if it just got weird because it's old.  I should cut down the stretcher frame I built.  When I laid it out, I thought I was going to be using half the width of the silk - 27".  But instead, in order for the proportions to look right, it was 20" wide.  You live, you learn.  If the frame is narrower, I won't have to stretch as far, and my lines will be more even.  Additionally, I'll have an easier time keeping a wet edge if I'm not stretching, and my final color block will look better.  I also clearly need better brushes - the ones I have (which weren't intended for this) tended to "sproing" when loaded, and spatter dye where I didn't want it.  So... I'm unhappy, but a little unreasonably so.  Tomorrow I'll heat set the dye, and then wash out the excess pigment.  Need to go back and review the directions to make sure I do that correctly.

The other accomplishment was pulling the trailer out - I got it out of its slot, turned it around, and backed it up the driveway to in front of the garage door in one try.  Every year - I do it perfectly the first time, and when I try to put it back it's going to look like the Jeep is being driven on a spider monkey on adderol.  We've got it chocked in good, and I took the sides off, sprayed it down with soap, scrubbed it with a broom, and rinsed it off.  The deck is a completely different color now, and more to the point, clean enough for me to give it a fresh coat of paint.  I need to get a wire brush and some Rustoleum for the metal frame, but we're going to Home Depot tomorrow for plywood anyway.  The thing I need to figure out is what to do about the underside.  Parking it off the driveway is suboptimal, so at least I need to be sure nothing is rusting/rotting.  Not sure how to get to it.  Dad said to flip it over on the driveway, but I'm really not sure how to do that.  Gotta think about it.  At the very least we'll pull the cotter pin and tip the bed up into "dump" position, and I'll see how much of the underside I can access like that.  No fun.  Necessary, but no fun.

Okay - off to the fireworks.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 8th, 2016 09:48 am (UTC)
I loathe chipmunks (and squirrels). I'm in favour of chipmunk genocide. (They ate EVERY SINGLE ONE OF A HUNDRED snowdrop bulbs I planted one year. And chipmunks and squirrels are so stupid that the vast majority of what they steal, they go stash elsewhere...and completely forget, so it just goes to waste. It's not like they're even taking only what they need to eat...they're just dirty rotten greedy stupid horrible thieves. But I won't tell you what I really think, ha ha.)

Okay...but...probably try throwing some garlic gloves in when you plant. You can also plant daffodils or fritillaria bulbs with things you want to protect from rodents. They give off a skunk-like smell to those little rotters and it tends to be a pretty good deterrent. I'm not saying it's guaranteed safe, then, but it does seem to help quite a bit.
Jul. 8th, 2016 02:42 pm (UTC)
So far, I'm not peeved at the squirrels - they haven't done anything to me. Yet.

I didn't know about the daffodils - if that could help, I'll give it a try. I like daffodils, and if they take they'll be lovely in that spot in the spring.

I put in another susan and another coneflower. So far, so good. It's just frustrating because I'm actually doing things *right* for once. Furry little bastards. If I can get this sorted out, I'll have the winter to figure out what I'm going to do in the next space - I'm taking your advice and trying to deal with it in manageable chunks instead of all at once.
Jul. 9th, 2016 07:52 pm (UTC)
You know what, I'm not sure now...I know rodents dislike daffodils so they wont' eat them...but I think maybe they don't actually REPEL them...that's it's only fritillaria bulbs (those great big crown imperials and the much smaller, cool-looking teeny fritillarias) and garlic that make them think 'skunk!' and run away.

But if you like daffodils, at least you can have some without worrying that varmints won't eat em. (Deer won't eat them either...another fairly common garden problem around here.)

One section of garden at a time is for the best. Much better to take your time and do a great job on a small section than burn yourself out on the whole thing and end up with everything half done so that it just has to be completely redone later on.
Jul. 10th, 2016 04:05 pm (UTC)
I remember sort of objecting to the idea when you first mentioned tackling the gardens a section at the time - because, of course, I want it NOW. But the more I thought about it, the more sense you made, and no surprise - you were right. I'll need to tweak things in the spring when I see what over-wintered, and now I realize that I have a shrub I'll want to move, but I'm pleased with how this is coming together. And if I were trying to do it all around the yard I'd be going nuts.

The chipmunks don't appear to be harassing that section of garden any longer for whatever reason - possibly it got to be too high in human traffic. Either way, they haven't molested the two new plants I put in last week.
Jul. 10th, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC)
You can always try throwing in a few cloves of garlic if there's something you really don't want them to mess with. Can't hurt, might help. :)

I'm glad the reasonable approach is working for you, ha ha...I hate taking the reasonable approach myself, but unless you are super fit and strong and about twenty, anything else ends up doing more harm than good, to both you and your garden. Or that's what I find, anyway. But even if you have all of that, a bit at a time tends to produce a garden that is more perfectly tailored to you and its use, imo. :)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )