Monday, December 28, 2009

Florida Visit December

Took 3-4 days to get adjusted. I thought I'd be bored outta my mind. It looks like I'll be here until January 23 or so. Made a trip to "the farm" finally. The farm is is on Pine Island.

Where's Bubba? I Gotta Find Bubba! Oh there's Bubba. AKA Heather, my neice.

A few more pics. Neice Jennifer with her grandmother Mabel.

 And their father and grandfather. Ed (left) Herman (right)

Group shot of the cousins...Left to right; Ryan, James, Jennifer, and Heather.

See the video. It starts with a trip to the driving range with my son Ryan. Basically his first time with some kind of instruction. Followed with my first time on a horse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mulch Pit

Or you can call it the wood chip pit; next to the county garbage collection place on this side of Ellijay. The smaller piles shown are about six feet high and probably twenty feet deep. New and old chips, mulch or good composting stuff; whatever one wants to call it. I've been busy digging into the center of it and coming up with what I think to be some healthy stuff for the gardens I have scattered all over the place here.

Add some cow manure to the mix, once I can get it, and it should be worm city. I inquired at the dairy farm down the road about some manure. "Too  wet now." But finally I know a good source instead of spending $$ at Lowes. For five bucks a bucket (yard) I'm pleased.

Off To Florida Thursday. Some winter pics of my lovely lawn failure.

Creek running strong all month...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time To Flee This Winter...again

I can tolerate 26 in the AM and 45 or 50 in the afternoon...but not this. My favorite time to work outdoors is between 8 and 11 AM, but wait until the crust on the ground thaws out? I've been trying to get the west side area done for a week now. Then it rains again. Sure I've covered it...but. I've actually been screen sifting (rocks) all the soil dug out and mixing with some really good composted wood chips from up the road...add some leaves to the mix as well. The horse crap guys never called me back and I don't want to press it. Maybe when I return from my trip to warmth.

I would suspect this will be good and fertile come late April when I can get some of those winter sowed plants in the ground. I also hope to get either horse or cow stuff when I return from Florida in late January. Yep, there's a cow dung place nearby...but they want money. Not sure how much yet, but beats spending all that money at Lowe's.

Got a little carried away with tilling other soil around the property. I knew I should have looked at the summer pics to find out what was growing where. So here were a few young Hostas I killed. I would suspect they won't come up now that they're six inches under now? The two in the upper left are under. Didn't touch the right side.

Speaking of Hostas. They're kind of growing on me. And lot's of other stuff I didn't like five months ago when I didn't know a hill of beans about this and that. So. How about a Hosta garden? Maybe I can finally finish off that area down by the creek (above). Check out this Hosta site.

And bring on the bog garden. Ever hear of elephant ears? I may get a few of 'em for the bog. They can get quite massive the way I'm reading into it. This place should be teeming with all sorts of stuff next summer. When the heck is winter over, dang it! OMG, it hasn't officially started.

West side...raised beds...shivering; not to scale.  Red wood ships will be buried, covered with fresh wood chips. I even thought of a low trellis in the back of a few beds with some climbing things. Leftover lattice laying around. Only the first one bottom left gets enough sun for a morning glory? But do they need morning sun? They won't get it until mid morning.

 On to Florida Dec 16 or 17.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Snow

Just a sprinkling the other day...

These Dianthus continue to surprise me. Moreover, recent reading tells me they may make it through the winter months while flowering at the same time. Everything else around here is gone thanks to the 20 degree temps Saturday morning. Except that funky thing in the planter is still hanging in there.

Exception: Violas, marigolds. I plan on a nice showing of the Violas and some pansies (aren't they the same?) next winter by starting  from seed and containers in the summer. Should be very different along with other winter flowering things.

Noticed the other day an interesting find on the top of the roof. Looks like some shingles are loosening. I'm not about to explore it. That roof pitch is far too steep for me. No leakage the way I see it after three inches of rain last week. More rain on the way tomorrow. I'm assuming the heavy winds last week were the cause. Kind of rare for winds to actually have an effect here because of the location. Only when they blow hard from the north do I really feel or hear it. Mother has had wind chimes hanging for two years on the porch, but why bother?

More bulbs popping through the soil... Dutch Iris

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For Sale. Eveything Is On Sale

A few weeks ago while walking the property I took some snapshots of sale signs...they're all over the place. Here's one I thought could be a deal. Right smack dab on top of the hill overlooking Cartecay Valley. There's a total of 12 acres but can be split. At the bottom of the hill is a creek that may run about two feet in width most of the time. Price? $15 K per acre but I'll bet that can be whittled down. Rumor has it the owner may be desperate, but that doesn't seem to be new thesedays.

Turning directly around or 180 degrees another sign. Not sure what they want for this one but it's something like 120 acres. Here's a county map showing property areas. The green dot is where I am standing taking the pictures. Dark blue is my property.

Next to the previous sign is another, something like four acres. Yea, I took one last summer but it didn't have any prices.

This morning while investigating a power outage (another tree down) I see another property up for sale. I've only moved 50 feet from the green dot on the map. Actually it's a modular home....aka mobile home. 1550 square feet. 3BR/2BA 1.5 acres. I investigated the sale sign in the window to where I was directed to a website. $59,900 or make an offer. It was repossessed but the sale does not include the land.

I suppose that's the norm for the rest of the country. For sale signs everywhere. On a more positive note I actually saw a new home under construction a few weeks ago. It almost looked strange.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mexican Heather Has A Winter Coat

I guess this shrub oozes moisture when it gets cold? This morning the temps reached 26, but it's not the first time this fall. I've seen two days at 27 around 7:30 AM. Anyway it's all dressed for the cold. Not as green compared to a few months ago when it thaws out.

Dianthus still hanging in there although they look beat up with frost covering them. Give it a few hours and they look healthy as ever.

The whatchamacallit....Pineapple Sage continues along, although looking like it's no longer reaching for the sky.

Petunias take on a new look with the frost covering them...

And that thing in the middle of the hanging basket. No clue as to the name and how long it will last?

Few remaining Impatiens along the stone wall hanging in there...barely.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wildflowers Expected To Shoot Up

By obtaining the names on the packages here's a photo list of what is being planted...scattered. Top going left to right.

Butterflyweed- also known as chigger weed. I already have this growing.
Prairie Aster
Farewell To Spring
Mountain Garland
Lance Coreopsis
Plains Coreopsis
Purple Cone flower
California Poppy
Blanket flower
Indian Blanket
Globe Gillia
Birds Eye(a)
Blue Flax(p)
Perennial Lupine(p)
Arroyo Lupine(a)
Missouri primrose
White evening primrose
California Bluebell(a)
California Bluebell(a)
Annual Phlox(a)
Black-eyed Susan(a)
Scarlet Sage(a&p)
Bachelor Button
Spurred Snapdragon

...and three or four that didn't make the photo gallery.

Corn Poppy
Gloriosa Daisy
Nodding Catchfly

A few months ago I bought (8) 2 gram packets of these. Offered by Ferry-Morse called Natures Rainbow Mixture and American Native Mixture, or enough to cover about 200 square feet. The area is now running at about 300 so I needed more. Now Lowes has easy shaker wildflower seed and more selections are added to what's above. And much lower in cost.

Bring on Cool Color Mix by Burpee...

Chinese Forget Me Not
Bachelor Button
Annual Baby's Breath
Virginia Stock- not sure about this one
Clarkia elegans

...and another bag to cover 1,000 square feet. Damned place! Now what am I going to do? Get some seed up on that other bank (opposite) that get's a lot of sun as well? This one is called Flagrant Wildflower Mix. Guaranteed To Grow!

The list...

White Yarrow
Sweet Sultan
Siberian Wallflower
Chinese forget me not
Sweet William- have already
Birds Eye Gilia
Candy tuff Amara
Sweet Pea lathyrus
Sweet alyssum
Evening Scented Stock
Four o'clock
Lemon Mint
Nicotina Alata- smells like cigs?
Evening Primrose

Good thing I don't have more full sun areas around here. This place would keep me busy!! Too busy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wildflower Gardens

Or at least that's what this area will be eventually. Wildflower area is planned to run around the corner, or about the fifth fence post. After starting yesterday, I thought the area in front of the fence would be an ideal place for the rest of the flower bulbs. Finally! I actually got tired of looking at them. Lost count of how many. Count 'em for yourself. The final tally below doesn't include the ones near the pressure treated wall.

And I said I got bored with the west side of the house, but dangit those bulbs laying around were annoying me. So there's something like 100 in that area. More crocus had to be planted as well, along the fence by the lawn. Should be an interesting spring...wondering how many will come up. Oh, the paperwaites are beginning to sprout (warm weather)

And the Dianthus is dropping seeds.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Muskogee Crepe Myrtle

I've been thinking for awhile about what to do up the driveway, Something that will stand out and grow fast. At first I had considered Hollyhocks then came across the Crepe Myrtle. Wow! Stunning I think, and the darned things grow 4-5 feet each year reaching 15-25 feet. What's more is they bloom for about four months. Definitely lot's of color in your face making the turn in the bend of the driveway.



Expensive? Yes, larger ones, but I'm trying to get my hands on some 3 gal sizes, maybe in the $20 each range. I figure ten along the fence line. Seems there are some growers about an hour south of Atlanta that I may look into.

More information about the tree here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Finally. Steps Off The Driveway

Forget that other idea of creating rail road tie steps. That project would have taken forever amongst a weave of roots and who knows what else. Not to mention the slope being extreme. With the chainsaw being out today and the blade/chain getting duller and duller I thought about putting it to rest by cutting some railroad ties. That usually puts them into the can't use again department. I'm not good at sharpening them anyway.

So, another project complete. It didn't take as long as I had thought either. I did think I would encounter some large rocks but it wasn't so bad. A few finishing touches needed but finally...steps up to the old logging road! Good place for the 30 or so daffodil bulbs left.

A view from above...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Raised Flower Beds

That's what they call 'em eh?

I mentioned I was bored with the west side of the cabin, but realized if I'm gonna have all these 'lil plants come mid to late April they gotta go somewhere. I suspect by the reading I've been doing I can have six to eight inch tall plants that can go in the ground about then...maybe later.

Last frost date is the key. What the heck, plant some about April 15 hope there's no frost after. If it doesn't work bring in the extra backup plants that are still protected. I should have oodles.

Ellijay dates since 1997- year/date/temp

2009 /Apr 22 /30.9
2008 /Apr 30 /31.6
2007 / Apr 13 /31.6
2006 /Mar 27 /22.9
2005 /Apr 25 /27.7
2004 /May 4 /30.2
2003 /Apr 1 / 28.3
2002 /Apr 6 /28.8
2001 /Apr 19/ 24.9
2000 /Apr 27 / 30.8
1999 /Apr 19 /27.4
1998 /Apr 12 /29.7
1997 /May 11 /31.1

So I spent a few hours preparing. I expect to see the horse poop supplier guy this weekend...

Checking the sun shade situation it looks like half gets full sun from 10AM until about 3 PM in summer. Here's a pic from August 1 this year at 11 AM. 3 PM pictures are very similar except stump area gets full sun. At 4 PM "dappled" shade. 5 PM no direct sun.

The plan...

Lottsa horse dooey to spread around the next few days including the east side of the house up on the hill bank.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ida Rainfall North Georgia

With as loose as the soil has been, today could be a good day hunting for fallen trees and firewood. Power did go out around 3 AM as two battery backups woke me with their annoying beeping sounds. No power...grrr. If it's local I thought I wouldn't have it back on until later in the day as I'm sure other trees in the area toppled over. Nope. Power restored within two hours.

Big gully washers up near the Smokies in South Eastern Tennessee, as shown in the precipitation map above. I'm located within the white circle right side of the image(click for larger view). I never noticed this Wunderground rainfall total function until recent, but it's pretty darned accurate. My baking pan rain gauge shows 4.25 inches since yesterday morning. Naturally I have to dump it from time to time and make some guesstimate recalculations because it's not square from top to bottom.

Here are the local the Wunderground totals in the Ellijay area...

Yes, the creek is running strong. It's been healthy all summer compared to last years drought. Daffodils bulbs are planted about 18 inches above the water line. They're safe.

Upon closer inspection it appears I'll have to tame this water retention area. Hope the Daffodil bulbs don't rot(orange flags). Rainfall totals were more than mentioned previous. Probably over five inches.

And a pic of my neighbors home that burnt down about ten days ago. Everyone is fine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Choices For The New Garden Area

Or should I say really rough draft. Click the image to enlarge.

Must be able to tolerate shade.

To Do:

More research on what works where. Or will they grow up here in mountain country? Dave's Garden and the gardenweb are very good sources for folks that usually wonder why this plant died or turned brown etc. One I've been looking into are Astilbes as they like moist, wet soil with shade. That would probably work well where the driveway rainwater runoff now lays. Most of it falls off the hill (picture below) and sits in a gully. It remains moist during dry times as well.

Still unsure how that was created. Maybe years ago when that large dam up the creek failed. Who knows how much water rushed through here then. I would venture a guess this cabin would have been under water if it was here.

Judging by pictures over the years, the sun shade mix looks something like this between May and July. After that the shade increases.

Updated pressure treated garden layout. It looks kind of stupid in the illustration, but the way I look at it, it will be colorful. Wondering if the Tulips will be around when the others make an appearance?