Charlie’s Mid-June Garden 2018

We’ve had lots of rain this month so the vegetable garden is growing well.

The esthetics of this year’s garden is wanting — no mulch yet.

Unfortunately the rabbits that live in the woods have been nibbling heartily at everything Charlie plants.

This year’s pea crop is snow peas. Usually we grow sugar snaps.

He has built his bamboo trellises and surrounded the crops with all sorts of wire barriers.

The peas taste good there are just not many of them.

I’ve eaten the few snow peas that the rabbits missed.

It won’t be long now.

On the bright side, the cucumbers are starting to gain some size. Charlie says we’ll be eating them within the week.

Do you preserve garden vegetables?

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The Doggie Elimination Area

The east side of the house where I am cultivating a hydrangea hedge has been designated “the elimination area”.

The elimination area is behind the dog run in the east side of the yard.

This is the place where we take Dash to “do his business”.

The east yard is away from the main part of the back yard.

Charlie has come up with a system to help us avoid stepping in the remnants from earlier visits.

The markers are kept in a nearby urn with an olive tree planted in it.

When the dog has a successful outing we mark it with a skewer.  Charlie felt the plain skewers were not visible enough so he spray painted the tops red.

A marker in place.

Every couple of days Charlie polices this area.

Do you have a clever pet managing device?

My Blue Hydrangeas

I have always wanted a blue hydrangea hedge at the side of the house.

The hydrangea cuttings are planted.
The hydrangea cuttings were planted in September, 2015.

We have the perfect spot where hydrangea flowers turn a vivid blue and last a long time.

The hydrangeas were merely one-leaf sprigs a year ago.
The hydrangeas were merely one-leaf sprigs in 2015.
This year the blooms are profuse.

Now, not quite 3 years later, each leaf has grown into a full-fledged bush.

Looking down on the hydrangeas from the second floor deck last year, 2017.
The change in annual growth is exciting to witness.

The view from the upper deck shows great improvement. The space between each bush is filling in nicely.

This year’s blooms are slowly turning from cream to blue as the weather warms.

Surely we will be using some hydrangeas flowers in arrangements to brighten the house inside.

Nikko Blue hydrangeas.

And maybe giving some away.

I visit this area numerous times daily.

Turns out that I see this far side of the house often. So does the puppy.

What’s growing better in your yard: cultivated plants or weeds?

Step 6: Resetting the Toilet

Now that the wallpaper in the pink bathroom is finished I’m ready for Charlie to reset the toilet with  new wax ring.

New wallpaper in the bathroom from Anthropologie.

He removed the toilet last weekend and stuck a rag in the drain hole to block escaping sewer gases.

The toilet was a useful flat surface while I was working on the wallpaper.

The tile around the toilet needed a good cleaning which I did with bathroom cleaner.

Tile and grout on the wall and on the floor were sprayed with bathroom cleaner and scrubbed.

I followed up with some diluted chlorine bleach to whiten the grout.

Charlie scraped off the old wax ring from the closet (toilet) flange.

Charlie cleaned up around the sewer pipe which seemed offset from the original pipe.

The flange is totally worn away on the left side.

When the old cast iron flange was cleaned up we noticed it was extremely worn on the spot where the new bolts were supposed to hook in. Maybe that’s why it was rocking before we removed it.

For now the toilet is on the bathroom floor blocking the way.

I looked up how to change the flange and found this very informative article and video.  I’m not sure Charlie is up to this renovation but I’m going to let him decide.

How are your plumbing skills?

Another Snake Story

On the last day of May a black snake ate the baby birds in a nest on our porch.

The snake was sprawled all over the box.

Unfortunately we had to kill that snake.

We usually store our gas grill near the back steps.

Then while Charlie was cleaning out the grill he came upon another snake that had made his home inside the grill.

Immediately Charlie texted me to find out what kind of snake this is.

This snake had a grey and white ladder pattern on its back.

The pattern and coloring are distinctive.

After some quick research I discovered it is a juvenile black rat snake.

The black rat snake has a very different look from its juvenile self.

This black rat snake is exactly the kind of snake which attacked the little birdies on our porch.  All of a sudden they’re coming close to the house. Ew.

How happy are you to come upon a serpent?

The Chaste Tree

Last July I ordered a chaste tree because I had learned that butterfly bushes are invasive.

The chaste tree was planted and mulched last summer.

It is a deciduous bush so during winter it just looks like bare sticks. It remained bare so long I figured it was dead.

The bright green leaves in the center is the chaste tree.

All of a sudden the plant started to leaf out.

To the right of the potted olive tree the chaste tree looks very small.

It’s still small but I have hope it will double in size this year. And we’re waiting for flowers.

What’s on your wish list?

Working in the Yard

Sug is almost on her way to another mission trip.

The yard is beautifully green in late spring.

Before she  leaves however she has been beautifying the back yard.

Charlie and I collected river rocks from upstate New York for the entrance to the garden.

The lamb’s ear in the entrance to the potager has been tamed and the pathway through the gate is at last visible.

The red flowers have been successful in attracting hummingbirds.

And of course the flowers in front of the Cottage are getting better.

Are you weeding or planting?