Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekend workings..


what you should do is move everything from the front yard to the back

That little voice that gets me into big trouble is at it again. Each time I go out front to do anything I see all the plants that are on these islands that are here and there and I think, you know, I’d really love to get rid of most of these islands…

Friday I worked on moving more hosta to the back, I have since found more that have to be relocated, as well as a few other plants. 


This is how things were shaping up on Friday.  Hosta and ragwort had been placed along my log edging. I can see it in my mind with the hosta growing large and proud gracefully draping over the edge, the ragwort filling in and blooming with it pretty little daisy like flowers….

Sorry, I got day dreamy there for a second, my mom gave me a tray of iris plants and I got those planted on Friday.  I have no idea what color they will be, but I like happy surprises like that.  This area by the pond is starting to fill in very nicely I like seeing plants spreading on their own.


Saturday it was raw, cloudy and it was supposed to rain and so I didn’t go out.  Of course the rain didn’t come till Saturday night, so basically I lost a day and had to attempt to make up for lost time on Sunday.  As soon as it hit 40 I was in my layers and out the door.


The collecting of limbs and logs from inside the fence was priority number one for me.  I’ve been scanning the woods and see plenty that I can go and collect that are outside the fence line. I need a power cart!  When Randy made it outside he went to work on grinding sticks and bringing the chips over to spread along the path. (It might take years to cover the paths, but it isn’t like we are going to run out of sticks) 


I moved the rocks from the path edge to use where I have flowers planted in the woods.  They get bumped with the cart too much to leave them close to where it rolls but in side the planting areas they will be safe.  I’m still contemplating what to do with the leaves.  (Leave them or use my shredder to shred and then re-spread)


In an attempt to follow the plan we had drawn up (at least a little) last year, the path is supposed to fork off and give access to the yard again.  So here is that in the works, I’ve got some scrub shrubs to take down on the right hand side.  I’m however in no rush to take away all the perch and hide places for the birds, since the feeders are right there on the left.  Once I get a couple of evergreens over there, I’ll be more inclined to cut down the weedy stuff.


This is just one of those things that makes me smile.  The deer eat these and leave nothing, so seeing them as real plants and knowing that I might get to see blooms is very encouraging. 

Cooper worked harder than anyone out there today..


                  I think that’s what dog tired looks like….

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Woodchip Wednesday

Yes, I’m back with another blog post.  Why am I not outside you wonder?  Well I was, I went out a little after 8 am and worked like a gardener possessed, but then the weather came.  Which in all honesty was probably the only thing that was going to get me to stop working outside as, I’m a little hard headed like that.

I have in my head a million and one garden plans.  I committed myself (and probably should be committed!) to spending as much time outside as I possibly can.  Today I tackled the wood chip pile and the spreading of the woodchips behind the pond.  We had some trees taken down and they asked could they leave the woodchips and I said sure.  At first I was going to use them for the paths, but decided that was way too much work. Ha!  When I started out this morning I was happy and full of get up and go, go, GO!  By the time I got done my go was gone and I was actually glad the rain was starting!


I started at the front end down by the bog.


I worked my way back around to the front by the steps of the gazebo.


Finished it all off by stacking those fieldstones.  Now I’ve got a couple places that need a little more but wow did it make a huge difference in how it looks over there.


I decided that along this edge I’m going to plant some of the hosta that are being relocated as well as woodland poppies and some ragwort.  This area is a tough place for anything to grow so I need plants that are tenacious!  You can also see that I started my log edging Smile


That’s sort of cool looking isn’t it, I think it makes a good edge too.  For some reason I look at it and it makes me think of a stream bed coming out of a mountain.  I’m contemplating getting some of those blue glass stones and some blue glow in the dark stones and filling it in with them.  Hmm, maybe I’ll put a tiny gnome or faerie nearby, maybe even a faerie door….

Natures Blessings..

There are so many beautiful and wondrous things to see.  I’m full of nothing but gratitude when it comes to where I live and the gifts that my Mom passed on to me.  Love of gardening, love of all of nature and the ability to connect with the earth in this amazing relationship!  I truly feel sorry for the people in the world that just never stop and take the time to see the marvels around them…


This is a dogwood called Golden Shadows, I got it oh like 3 or 4 years ago (could be longer!) with my mom at a plant sale.  It was just a stick and the poor thing didn’t stand a chance because the deer would eat any new growth that appeared. Look at that variegation, look at the depth of the grooves on the leaves, it’s even more beautiful in person!  I can’t wait to find a prime spot for it in the ground!


Apparently I’m on Mother Nature’s good side right now because she gave me this gift!  At first I thought it was a poppy but under closer inspection the leaf looks like a tulip.  In any case it is just beautiful and I have no idea where it came from! 


I just love snakes!  I was raised by a Mom who believed that I shouldn’t be afraid of nature.  I grew up with a respect for the things that could inflict pain but not a fear of any of them.  I am always finding these little snakes in the leaf matter and today in the wood chip pile.  There were actually two but taking a picture of a snake with one hand when he’s trying to hide in between your fingers was tricky enough.  My other favorite thing to ‘play’ with when I’m moving leaves or wood chips are the huge black beetles called horned passalus. These things are so cool because they kind of squeak when you hold them, I mean come on how cool is that a beetle that can make noise!!!  I didn’t get a picture though because when it started squeaking Cooper got really interested.


This is my lovely woodland bed all a bloom with woodland poppies, daffodils, snow drops, hellebores and trilliums.  It such a bright and happy sight, it’s nice to see it like this, it sadly won’t last because the deer, when desperate will eat all the woodland poppies (it’s in the unfenced zone) but for now, it’s so pretty.


Directly across is another bed in full bloom, bleeding hearts, hellebores and Virginia bluebells were all swaying in the breeze.   Or maybe from the buzzing of all the bees!  They love the Virginia bluebells and the plants almost humm, from all the activity.  When a bumblebee buzzed past Coopers head he jumped and tried to chase it.  I’m not sure what he thought he was going to do if he caught it!

The weather changed from sunny, breezy and 70.  To pouring down rain and insane winds that made the trees roar.  I sat and watched the trees dance, listened to the rain pounding and thought wow, I really am blessed….

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Garden goings..

Monday saw the sale of all of my Langstroth beekeeping supplies.  If I ever go down that road again it will be top bar only.  I was happy to see it go and the guy that bought it all was delighted to take it!  The rains came Monday evening and brought in much cooler temperatures and wind for today.  That didn’t stop Cooper from wanting to be outside on the deck though!


I have to admit to being so incredibly glad that he likes being outside!  It makes life so much easier to be able to go out and know he’s content to lay on the deck or on his other bed nearby. 

I’ve got so many plans and projects for the gardens, I need a few more versions of myself out there to do the work.  Today I took care of a project that wasn’t any fun at all, moving rocks.


Now, my original plan for these rocks was edging that looks like this, but with a catch, I want to set it in mortar so that they don’t sink into the ground.  Rocks here have a tendency to disappear in one season so a nice cut edge, a little mortar and river rock would make a great edge for separating the gardens from the grass.  These borders are only going to be for the gardens that we are creating in the wooded areas that are in the deer fenced part of the yard.


One of the places I had to gather rocks from (because someone took some of my really nice river rocks to use!) was where the overflow pipe is.  Those rocks were under several inches of mud because the area continues to wash, it’s just a natural slope for all the water that runs through the yard to go into this area.


Well I came up with the brilliant idea to turn this into a dry stream bed.  It will be a nice addition to the area and it will allow the water to wash through without getting muddy and gross. It could look something like this..

web Jan Johnsen Dry Stream  4

Which I think would look SO much better than it does now..


Now that all the small rocks are up from around the path edges and the pond area, I’ve got lots of little things I can do.  The bigger rocks will need to be relocated and I suspect some can be used for the dry stream bed.


I also have to collect as many of the large limbs that have fallen as I can find to use to edge the paths.  I’m going for this look..


Isn’t that a path you’d want to walk down!  Hey if I’m dreaming my dreams are going to be big ones.  I really wonder what the heck the people do with all their leaves!

Weekend Happenings

Spring is on full speed here, I can’t believe how quickly everything is coming up and greening up.  Last week we got our replacement trees..Finally!!


This time they brought us Norway spruce, the guy said he didn’t know what had killed them, but maybe they didn’t get enough sun.  I could see a tree not growing and languishing away, but not out right death like that.  I really want to get all the small beech trees and the one damaged large one taking down.  That would help with more light getting into the back yard.  We need all the help we can get to dry things out back there too.  With the grass always being wet, it’s super easy for Cooper to tear it up!

We actually got to do some outdoor chores on Sunday.  Randy mowed the grass and cleaned up the leaves from various places.  I started the process of moving hosta to the back gardens.  When they are small and haven’t opened yet they are pretty easy to move.


I have a few odd clumps that have shown up in other beds, the most daunting task for me though is the hosta coming up along the front. In addition to the hosta this bed has several azaleas in it that need to be moved.  I’ve actually thought about hiring someone to come dig the holes and move them for me.  It hurts my back just thinking about digging them up!

A very nice gift of the deer fence has been seeing things blooming that never have before.


This yellow bush has been back here for years and the deer ate it constantly, this year it was safe and showed it’s appreciation for that.  Randy said we will have to rescue the other two from around front and plant them near this one.


These are just a few of the hosta coming up in the bed near the deck, they have leaves and everything!


Funny how getting to see something as simple as violets blooming can make you smile, the deer typically ate the flowers off in the spring leaving me with nothing but green leaves.

With nice weather in the forecast I suspect that I’ll be spending quite a bit of time outside working…

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday happenings..

Last week was one of those weeks, the kind that you just want to put behind you.  The loss of Zoe while not sudden was still hard and we both have had moments where we were looking for her.  It’s such an adjustment to your life when you lose a pet that’s been a part of it for so long.  Cooper went for his neuter and pexy on Friday.  I was a wreck, so today it was wonderful to see him back to his amazing self.  He and I spent a lot of time together sitting in the sun and enjoying the day.


When Cooper tired of sleeping outside, he went in with Randy who was doing this and that inside.  I however did not want to go in and so I worked on clearing out the flower beds around the pond.


I’m never alone when I’m over there, this bullfrog kept a close eye on me while I cleaned around him.  I also found several wood frogs and even a beautiful little ring neck snake that I couldn’t resist holding for a while. I love seeing all the wildlife in my yard, it’s nice to know that I provide a little piece of sanctuary for them.


The pond is a mess!  Even though we put a net up to keep leaves out, some still got in and I’ve got string algae and muck galore.  I did the spring treatments today and I’m betting vacuuming the pond bottom will be in order soon.


I discovered a lungwort blooming out from under the leaves that I planted last year.  It was a happy surprise because I didn’t think it had survived.


I need mulch for the beds around the pond, before all these plants get full size.  I also need some filed stone to finish the edges, so the frogs have more basking spots.


As a gardener you dream about how things are going to look.  Sometimes it works out great, you get to watch your ‘vision’ come alive.  Sometimes Mother Nature laughs at you and says not so fast, I’ve got plans of my own!  When we put in the stream for the pond I knew I wanted it to have plants tumbling all over the rocks.  I wanted it to look like it was nestled among ferns and hosta, with moss growing happily on the rocks.  For years the deer have prevented a lot of that from happening, but since fencing in the back yard things are now growing nicely.  This sedum is spreading all along the stream edge and it’s filling in all those bare spots, growing in between the rocks.  So even if it’s just a little glimpse of how it could be, it’s enough to keep me gardening!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Farewell Zoe, we will miss you very much


Our hearts are heavy with sadness this evening as we deal with the loss of our sweet Zoe. 

Zoe had been with us for 14 wonderful and sometimes trying years.  She came to us as a rescue, despite the fact that we got her from a breeder.  Had we not taken Zoe, the breeder was planning on putting her down.  At 8 months old, Zoe had not been socialized to people or other dogs and she suffered from fear aggression.  Worse yet she’d never had a house life, so things like the ice maker, the dishwasher and even the floor scared her.  What she loved from day one though was Randy.

Zoe Jul 2002 (2)

She bonded with him I think as soon as she saw him and was always happiest when he was around.  She certainly listened to him far better than she ever did anyone else.  Well there was one other person that Zoe adored and that was my mom.  Zoe would speed past all of us when my mom showed up at the house, she was always anxious to give her kisses and on more than one occasion she also nibbled in her excitement. 


Dakota & Zoe Aug 2002 (3)Dakota & Zoe Dec 2002 (14)

Even though their relationship started off rocky, Zoe and Dakota became the best of friends.  She relied on him a lot to let her know that everything was going to be okay.  Dakota was such a easy going dog and I like to think that he rubbed off on her over the years they were together.  As time passed Zoe learned that she was always safe with us and would always be cared for and I thank Dakota for helping her see that as well.

Zoe & Hayleigh Dec 2006 (6)Zoe & Ally Aug 2006

Zoe made friends with Hayleigh and Ally.  I won’t say she enjoyed sharing her sleeping spaces with them, but she didn’t seem to mind too much either.

Zoe loved being outside with us and would find a place that she could stretch out in the sun and keep an eye on things at the same time. She was the queen of her castle for sure!

Zoe May 2006 (1)Zoe Jun 2008 (2)Zoe Mar 2010 (3)Zoe Jul 2010 (3)

Last year with the addition of Cooper to the family, Zoe seemed to regain some of her youth.  She had a bit of spunk again and enjoyed brief play sessions with Cooper.

Zoe & Cooper Sep 2013 (36)Zoe & Cooper Sep 2013 (37)Zoe & Cooper Sep 2013 (48)Zoe & Cooper Sep 2013 (49)Zoe& Cooper Oct 2013 (16)

Zoe & Cooper Dec 2013 (133)

It is hard to imagine a life without Zoe, she has been with us for almost as long as we have lived here.  She will be forever loved and missed very much by all that were blessed to know her. 




It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are. - Anonymous