Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rain Gutters Finally - Great Service

Ellijay Ga Rain Gutter CompanyLast week I called a local Ellijay rain gutter company for an estimate to finally get some rain spouts up. They're only needed on the back side of the house because the front runoff actually serves to water a flower bed that thrives.

Crump & Holmes is the name of the company. Run by Jarrod Holmes and his father John, the work was completed yesterday rather than the tentative date we had for later in the week. Great guys from the get go. I highly recommend their services.

John and his father... who incidentally has plenty of compost for free. The only concern is it's horse manure compost. Some web research tells me as long as it's broken down well it should work. Too green or smelly would result in lots of seeds germinating. I don't need an oat field in the backyard!

Next step is digging a trench so I can bury the drainage pipe shown in the background. Maybe now I'll have a drier yard?

Yikes, almost stepped on this critter while taking pics. He must like my new flagstone path. Sunny spot today. Saw another larger snake on the driveway too. Must be the cold weather bringing them closer to the house or maybe critters they like. Temps have been drifting into the lower 40's at night.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Red Wood Chips Have To Go!

Not only is the area fugly, but I do have to grade it better before the lawn reseeding that should be done by Sunday. All chips removed along with pressure treated 1 x 4" border. How's that for a hairless head and the gray? Wheeew.

And some critters living in a sub division underneath. I'm guessing moles.

With some leftover flagstone, the plan is a smaller pathway that extends the length of the house with some bushes and and other stuff...or grass in between.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Tarp Is On The Field

More rain, but not as bad as some areas west of me shown on the map. Looks like 5-6 inches near Chatsworth and Dalton. About 1/2 inch today in my area (round circle).

Lookie here, the forecast! Maybe I can plant some grass seed. Only problem is those damned leaves that keep piling up on the lawn. Of course they're damp now. Blowing takes a little extra time, but how can I keep them off when new grass starts shooting up? I'll have to walk on it.

The rain delay pics...

It looks like I have most of the low areas taken care of except for a few puddles showing in the center. I figure about four cubic yards of fill has been moved into the area. One of neighbor kids who was over yesterday to see the dead deer in the woods (Oh stinky!) asked "that's a lot of hard work you do around here, Why do you do it?"

"It's good exercise. You'll understand when you get older."

For the 1/4 inch deep top dressing after the seeding. A combination of premium top soil and composted cow manure mixed with about 1/6 sand. The forecast looks good and I'd hate to lose this stuff to rain. I'll have about $250 in this project once it's done, not including the labor.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lawn Again...

Now that the rain age (kind of like an ice age, or so it seemed) is history it's drying out time. The lawn is still quite wet after ten inches in six days but aeration has helped. That project is over with, thank goodness. Now it's time to fix what I rushed into last summer; creating a flat lawn so the rain runs off better.

The above picture represents about 15 large wheel barrel loads in a combination of local soil, sand, and topsoil I picked up last weekend. Five or six more ought to complete the project. Sand? I thought the same, but local experts say it's good for keeping algae from growing.

The low spot collected a lot of that stuff and was always mucky when the sun didn't hit it. Poplar trees losing their leaves are opening up some of the shade. I'm thinking about bringing three trees down this winter to give the lawn some more sunshine, particularly during August and September when it gets very little.

Keeping an eye on the slope with a string line...

And I finally got around to calling in a rain gutter guy. With all that rain last week I had plenty of time to see where it goes once it falls off the roof. A good portion runs off the end of the roof in the foreground and into the low areas. I thought the culprit was rain water rushing over the flagstone path. That's part of it but not the largest cause. Expecting work to be done about one week from today.

Oh... and the bird feeder was moved. It was always hard to get a good view of who was in there when sitting on the porch. Moreover, once the back door opened they would scatter. Kind of looks crooked doesn't it? Expect to see some good bird pics this winter.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rain Delay

Not much happening around these parts. Just waiting until the rains go away. No measurable accumulation after the big deluge Tuesday. Drizzle now and then with cloudy skies. Some sunshine Friday, but all the work areas are wet and muddy.

The inspector has arrived, but I have yet to see a report.

One of the heated discussions with UPS. They have failed to perform their duties. Package was due Tuesday. Still no sign of them.

Oh, I have been working on more lawn aeration. Much easier now with looser soil. Visited Buck Jones Nursery down in Woodstock this morning, but it was raining. Nice setup. Lot's of space where you can drive up and down aisles while looking. Sorry no pics but I did pickup some bulk topsoil. Sure beats paying by the bag at Lowes. I only wish the place was closer. $15.95 for a bucket (3/4 cubic yard)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Gully Washer Since May

One quarter of an inch shy of six inches fell in eight hours today. I've been wondering how my driveway drainage adjustments would fare, or at least the new diversions for rainwater runoff. #1 is an improvement and actually runs under part of the garden area. #2 is the newest one. The two in between fence post 3 and five collect most of it now.

I've also been wondering how the garden shed would hold up to rain. Yikes, not so good. But there are only a few small gaps causing problems, or so it seems. I thought of caulking the top side (two colors, leftovers) then painting the deck instead of the previous idea.

Aeration project about 1/3 complete. Good thing I didn't dump any of that new topsoil I picked up the other day. That would have been a goner much like what happened in late April during a good rain dump.

I hope my eight hour effort and 10,000 holes won't go south either. I had planned to get some good top soil in those buggers, but they could be closing up because of the rains. Maybe it just needs to be raked as the soil under the grass is pure packed clay. Photo below shows after the six inches fell.

Good topsoil and micro organisms is what I've learned about recently. I'm gonna give organic lawn treatment a whirl. Corn meal seems to be a good fertilizer that also offers benefits against lawn disease and critters. Some suprising findings at the Garden Web organic lawn care forum.

See what happens.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

About That Lawn - Time To Redo

I have a feeling I may be spinning my wheels trying to get this lawn in good shape, at least the larger area that has all sorts of problems. I spent another hour and a half trying to manually aerate part of it and it's obvious the soil quality isn't there. Healthy lawns are supposed to have good root growth and not the one inch I'm getting. It's no wonder, the soil is clay and compacted heavily.

Looking at this site from the University of Georgia it mentions healthy soil, the kind that worms like. I haven't seen nary a worm in that stuff. So I'm seriously thinking of renting a rototiller and get this thing right. I imagine there will be a pile of good sized rocks when I'm done because I've been hitting them constantly trying to aerate manually.

The lawn also needs some improved grading. I really should have built the pathway that leads to the creek with a slight slope to the opposite side rather than to the lawn side. I just figured the rain water runoff would go down the side of the path. Instead it travels into the lawn and sits there (illustration above). I thought I had it right last summer but did rush it. This time I'm going to get a string line out.

Those are my thoughts now. It could change tomorrow. Two days ago I was thinking of leaving it alone until spring. But I bought this new fangled seed a month ago that's supposed to really do well in shade. It could go bad by spring.

But will it grow? Here's a spot that's growing moss.

Blogger upload down...More later

Added September 13. Forget the rototiller. The more I read about 'em I'm certain it will kick my ass. Maybe 20 years ago, but not anymore. I'm going back to another plan. Build a raised flower bed along the walkway. Or at least in the area that will block the water runoff. Kind of like the pic below, but about two foot wide. Possibly make use of that rain barrel too. Cut 'er in half and place them at each end for planters.

I'll continue manual aeration, and maybe, just maybe these two options will reduce the amount of water that lays on the lawn. Lot's of holes and lotssa good compost added to the lawn. That outta loosen things up. If that doesn't do it, bring in the rototiller and help next March.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fence Garden - Progress

For days I've been looking at the other side of the fence from the driveway and thought about cutting out some brush. It opens up a better view when coming down the driveway but creates another issue. What do I do now? Something needs to go on the other side of the fence! These gardens keep multiplying.

I'd probably be bored to death had I not got involved in this stuff. That's why there's a large gap in my blog updates between late June and mid July. I was running out of things to do...or I thought I was. Kaboom, now I'm filled with ideas.

The other side of the needs something.

June 29 this year...

More on the fence garden. I picked up, Blue Star Creeper to place around the drainage rocks. They'll probably spread like crazy, but the sweet William tends to contain other plants or so I hear. Maybe extend the rock gulleys down the hill with the Creeper? Kind of like a waterfall effect?

It still needs something else. Some kind of grass or low growing shrubbery planted at the fence?

Oh, and after doing some shopping at the HD in Blue Ridge again I kept seeing "good for boggy or marshy areas" while looking for ground cover. The area on the other side of the path looks like it could fill the order. It stays moist most of the time and contains a lot of water runoff after it rains. Needs more research.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cartecay Trading Post - Pics

Written about three weeks ago...

I was looking for a window for the new garden room. Had forgotten about this place for quite awhile. Located about eight miles towards Rich Mountain it has all sorts of stuff, but not what I wanted. Need a buggy? See the one on the porch?

Oh I see something mother would probably buy depending on price. Any guesses?

Old snow sleds too. I didn't check the price. I was on my way into town a few evenings ago and the place was closing up early.

Doors, windows, appliances etc...

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Garden - Fence With Sweet William

The more I learn about these Dianthus or "Sweet William" it appears they may be as easy to grow as the Impatiens I have. They also reseed and apparently grow into the winter months depending on temperatures. Flowers from mid April into November...I think. More information at Daves Garden with comments and oodles of nice pics (if you're a member).

I started these things where the rain barrel was and thought...why not. Let's run 'em all the way up the driveway. sure about that yet, but it's an idea. Naturally lot's of rocks to dig up preparing the soil.

Closeup pic. They're supposed to be fast growers as well. I'm inclined to think one actually grew an inch since planting three days ago next to the porch. Colors are primarily whites and reds...tired of too much pink around here. Curious to see what happens with them. The area need something else besides these flowers. I'm thinking some kind of grass (no not a lawn) in between areas to break it up a bit.

And I'm sporting a new hair style. Feels great but mosquitoes, or some small critters love that "virgin" skin if a hat is not worn near weedy areas. Chiggers seem to be gone, wearing shorts for the last three days, but still using Deep Woods bug spray.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Plants At Lowes This Time Of The Year?

After doing some investigating into what kinds of stuff I'd like to have growing around here, it's obvious the home improvement centers can't carry it all. Still waiting on the landscape designer. Could be that she is very busy which would make sense this time of the year, but it's been three weeks?

Oh well, now that other projects are near completion, it's time to get some color in the bare spots. Before you know it I may have it all done before mother arrives September 16.

Here are some shots of what the the local Lowes in Ellijay offers. I'm a day late as I think the shipments arrive Tuesday and Thursday. I was really looking for Asters (above) but they went quick and were on the pricey side for me. Definitely time to think seeds. Money can go fast and I've spent enough this year.

Oodles of mums naturally.

So...what did twenty bucks buy? Why not some Marigolds and Dianthus. Maybe they'll do okay up by the driveway because there isn't a whole lotta direct sun this time of the year in other areas. Check more sun/shade pics below. All taken at 11AM. Hope they last until November and get "puffy" or spread out.

But then I thought about this little spot. It seems to get a good portion of sun in the morning and afternoon and it's BARE! All pics taken at 11AM.

Grass is greening up!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Plants & Stuff. Early September

More plant stuff. I haven't looked into how to care for these things, but I give them a resounding thumbs down. Give it a big haircut? They don't like standing up straight either.

Here's some interesting moss I discovered near the English Ivy.

Cleomes are past their support level and beginning to sway. I'm not crazy about them anymore either.

Petunias on the wall continue to degrade. But check out those Mexican Heather bushes. The Hershey Azaleas are getting overgrown...barely noticeable from this angle.

Here's that vine on the fence again...and a closeup.

Impatiens need no help. This is an ideal spot for them. They grow like crazy with shots of fertilizer from time to time.

Getting bored with this area. I just had to blow twenty bucks on some mums the other day. They are kinda small, but may puff up before the first frost. Only problem is sun. The area gets about four hours this time of the year.

More straggling Petunias pulled from another area are now located near the tree stump.

More Impatiens transplanted to the bank opposite of railroad tie garden. I've never been able to get a good pic of what it really looks like..always too much glare. This should be FILLED next year.

Lawn muck. Covers about 25% of the main area. I may have to abandon grass in some areas. After doing some minor aerating five days ago it still doesn't dry out. No air circulation nor sunlight. Smells musty too. Got tired of the lawn progress and dumped some high nitrogen fertilizer on it two days ago. I'll take green over blah. See what happens.

Another vine. I'm hoping it covers that stone wall that was never grouted. It was transplanted about six weeks ago and only covered about two square feet then.