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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Two weeks in one..

Grab a drink, it’s going to be a long one..  Our internet has been down and out for most of the last three weeks.  No idea as to what exactly happened and really it didn’t bother me all that much.  However there is much to go over so let’s go!

Tucker is a love, a talker and a pain in the butt!

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He is seriously lacking in manners and can’t get back into school soon enough!  He also has an eating problem, in that he eats everything and anything he can get in his mouth, rocks, sticks, leaves, cat poop, you name it.  I had to remove a 12” flat giraffe toy from that he had all but swallowed last week and he scarfed a raw duck neck, whole in one gulp!  He’s a maniac when it comes to food and he seems to always be hungry and by that I mean starving!  This week has seen a plethora of puppy teeth being lost, I suspect his eaten many of them!

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Cooper is the best big brother ever, but I’d expect nothing less as he is the best dog ever!  He is so patient with Tucker and while he will tease him ruthlessly with toys, he also tolerates all the ankle biting, ear pulling and climbing that Tucker dishes out.  I love watching them play and hearing Tucker ‘talking’ to Cooper when he isn’t getting his way is priceless.

Yard work has been taking place, I know miracle right!  The weather decided to give us a break from rain and humid heat.  So last weekend we installed a new deck fan (it’s heavenly!) and we pressure washed and stained the decks.

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Up next was my removing the ferns from around the fire pit and relocating them to the woods near the shed. (Yes the dog pool is down in the fire pit, it’s a perfect spot for it!)

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They look really ragged but hopefully they will survive and come back and be lovely next year.  My goal is to make this, look like this;

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Which is just a gift of nature.

The fire pit took some pondering and I decided on something that I’ve not had much luck growing because it needs dry and sun, something that isn’t in surplus here.

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Lavender!  I mixed in some Silver mound Artemisia for a texture and color contrast.  I sure hope they thrive and fill in, I love lavender and this is a dwarf variety that won’t get so big Randy complains.  While we were working on planting them, the bumblebees were all over them I can just imagine sitting there, smelling the lavender and listening to them buzz.

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Two weeks ago we had Nick, from Acer Landscaping come out and fix the fieldstone walls for us and they did a fantastic job!

I don’t like looking at the tractor parts and we’ve been working hard to clean up the back.  I suggested turning an old piece of a trailer into a ‘fence’ to hide that stuff and Randy thought it was a good idea and he implemented it, very nicely!

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I’ll find something to plant in front of it or grow on it to dress it up a little.  This area around the horse shoe pits has been cleaned up nicely.  It looks so different when it’s clean!

Today was a big day, today we put up one of the two sets of gates!!!  We still need to attach the fence to it, but the gates are up!

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Yes they are stepped on purpose, the yard is incredibly uneven.  We will work on finishing that up this week and hopefully building the other set and installing next week.

That’s all for now, have a great week!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

It was rough, but worth it!

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Dog tired!  This is the end result of a several hours of play and exploration!  These two pretty much went nonstop with the running, digging and all out goofing.  Tucker got so tired that he went up and flopped down on the deck to sleep, he was done!  Wonder if he’ll ever be able to keep up with Cooper???

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Yesterday I mentioned how great the azaleas looked but you couldn’t really see them in that picture.  Well here there are in the freshly weeded and cleared area.  I’m hoping that this fall, we can shred the leaves and spread them in all these areas to keep the weeds down, it really makes a difference.

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We moved toward the old bee area and all this area was overrun with Japanese stilt grass, barberry, bittersweet and these really stinky weedy trees.

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My fern patch is filling in, I love this area so much.  I’ll have to get in there and weed it but the more they grow the happier I am.  It’s just the most lovely, spot it just looks like a ‘forest’ floor should to me.

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Everywhere you see ground was covered with Japanese stilt grass, Randy must have carted four or five loads of it away!  That stuff is just horrible, each piece makes hundreds of seeds and they stay in the soil for up to 7 years.  How will I ever get rid of it!

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Under all the stilt grass there were some plants.  A couple of different coneflowers and some Joe Pye weed. 

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This area still needs some tending but it looks to have several different plants in there; milkweeds, catmints and some things that I won’t know names for till they bloom.

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Randy worked on cleaning up the area behind and while I don’t like the fact that he did mow over native Jack in the Pulpits, Mayflowers and some viburnums in his quest to clear, the end result is better.  He pulled out some many thorny things that his arms look like he was attacked by cats!

 If I could get just one full day every weekend out of Randy like the last two, we could have this yard whipped into shape fast!  It makes such a difference having him help, even if he does murder plants that I’d like to save sometimes.  I’ve always wondered how people that have those picture perfect gardens do it.  I know now, they have muscle to help!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The other sides…

Today we finally got to the other sides!!!!  While we have nothing to plant it’s really nice to have finally cleaned out all around the shed.  It took half the day, but it really was worth it.

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It looks much better and now I can worry less about the dogs as they love running around through the woods and there was quite a bit of poison ivy in there.

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I pulled a lot of weeds and burning bush sprouts up from this area.  I had to uncover the azaleas that are doing so well back there.  They are filling out and are glossy, dark green and just looking better than I’ve ever seen them.  I can hardly wait till next spring when they bloom, again!

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Cooper and Tucker played, a lot!  Cooper loves being chased, Tucker, well he doesn’t love to chase all that much, yet, but I see it coming.  I love that I can take them into the back yard and let them go.  Tucker even seems to be outgrowing the need to eat everything, which is a blessing.  It has been the biggest issue with him being off leash, he doesn’t just chew stuff, he swallows it; sticks, mulch, grass, leaves you name it. 

Tomorrow, I think we are going to work out front, now there’s a full days worth of work!

 

 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Welcome to July…

It’s July.  Where is the summer going and why is it going so fast?  I need a way to slow things down, isn’t it supposed to be the lazy days of summer???

The rain took out my milkweed jungle, rather the torrents of rain and wind that came with some severe storms did.  I tried to prop it back up, but it just didn’t work.  Now it looks messy and the sweet smell has drifted away.

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The bee balm continues to bloom and attract lots of hummingbirds, the pink bee balm has had bees and butterflies on it.  Out of the mess the Joe Pye Weed and Goldenrod have appeared and will hopefully get a chance to bloom without being eaten by the deer.  They are eating things fast this year, I spray it rains, they eat. 

Case in point.  I noticed that my yellow daylily and my Cherokee daylily were close to blooming so I sprayed them.

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Today when I went to see if they were blooming or not…

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That’s what I found, it’s so frustrating.  I’ve got to get the rest of my plants moved this fall.

So far they haven’t reached my daylily called Joan, if they do at least I got to see it bloom!

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Oddly enough they are eating my bonset this year, I wouldn’t think they’d like that it has very fuzzy leaves but..

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It is usually a good five feet tall by now.  Sad, I guess it will have to be moved as well.  I’m thinking that a lot of the stuff at the front of the driveway and at the porch is going to end up at the deck bed and the deck bed stuff is going to end up in the shade beds.  That deck area is about the only place that gets enough sun to support all these plants.  Well, the former bee garden gets sun too, but that may end up as something totally different in the coming years.

I went out to do some weeding the other day, taking Tucker and Cooper with me and was trying to decide where to start.  I settled on the deck bed, thinking that I really need to keep after the jewel weed.  So I kneeled down and

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decided on another location after almost grabbing this lovely visitor!  At least five feet long, it wasn’t too bothered by my presence, just kept laying there, but I suspect had I grabbed it or stepped on it that would have been a different story!

There are so many insects which you know is fine by me as long as they aren’t munching on me! What I have seen a lot of this year are these lovely garden spiders.

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I haven’t looked up what kind they are exactly but they are all over.  Being the kind of person that doesn’t want to wreck their homes I weed around them and do my best not to mess up their webs.  They are really very lovely!

The damselflies are back, I’ve not gotten a good picture but I’ve got dragonflies galore too!

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Nature just never ceases to amaze and delight me, except the deer, they just really frustrate me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A vanilla scented jungle..

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Complete with wild animals that lounge in tree tops…

Walk out my front door into the humid air and the aroma of vanilla wafts all around you.  It surrounds you, it makes you think of some wonderfully tropical place.

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The source of the heavenly scent an unruly patch of milkweed, just plain old milkweed. 

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Mixed in with the milkweed are two types of bee balm and this little unruly patch is playing host to so many bumblebees, butterflies and other pollinators that I wouldn’t dream of changing one plant of it!  Thankfully, I don’t live anywhere with an HOA!

The gardens are a weed filled mess, the humidity has just been brutal and having Tucker has made it pretty much impossible to go outside and pull weeds.  He has a tendency to eat, well, anything he can get in his mouth.

The area behind the pond looks so cool and inviting, oh what I wouldn’t give if all the fenced in area was free and clear with paths to meander on, which only a few weeds to pull here and there.

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I see this and I see so much potential for it to fill in and be beautiful, but maybe you have to be a gardener to have that vision.

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The bed along the deck is bursting with hosta on one end, jewel weed in the middle and daylilies on the other end.

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This is another spot that I see so much potential, SO much work, but so much potential.

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Forego, please, looking at the massive weed patch in the background and focus on the ferns.  After living with these for a while now, we’ve decided that we don’t like them there.  We love the idea of some plantings but not those ferns, something lower, maybe something with color, just not the ferns.

I guess what I need most is cooler temperatures and time, lots and lots of time!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cooper’s Big News, Tucker is getting big!

The BIG news this week, Cooper turned 2!!! 

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I am happy to say that he is still a big puppy head and that turning 2 years old did not seem to phase him.  As you can see, he was quite excited about his birthday cake and tried to convince me to let him eat it all in one bite!  That did not happen.

The heat and humidity have been brutal for the last couple of weeks.  It’s kept us inside for the most part which is okay, since Tucker isn’t quite ready for full on running with Cooper yet; which is what happens when they both go out back together!

Tucker is growing so fast!

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I swear some days I can hear him getting bigger.  He started puppy kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and did a puppy play date on Saturday.  Tucker is NOT like Cooper at all.  While he doesn’t mind other dogs and isn’t fearful of them, he’s not the maniac about playing that Cooper was..er is. He is apparently far more casual about the whole thing and can take it or leave it.  Randy has been taking him solo, our niece did go the two Sundays she was here; it was “cool” she said.  I enjoy my Sunday evenings of down time, Tucker and Cooper together are a full time job!  So that time with Cooper, even if he is frustrated that Tucker went for a ride without him, is nice.

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These two play hard and they crash hard, and those ‘crashes’ are about the only free time I get to do my normal household stuff.  As long as Cooper remains in the same room with Tucker it’s all good, but let Cooper get up to see what I’m doing and Tucker says hey, don’t forget me!  Tucker is also very, very good about letting you know he needs to go out.  The only downside is that since they play so hard, they drink more water, which means more trips outside.  I counted the other day it was like 18 times before Randy got home.  I’m so proud of Tucker though, I’d rather take him out 180 times (well not really!) than clean up puppy piles inside.

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Cooper is amazingly tolerant of Tucker’s insanity.  There are occasionally some ‘discussions’ over toys or bones because one of them always wants what the other one has.  Typically it’s Tucker giving Cooper a lot of lip because he wants what Cooper has.  If I can ever get a video of that, I’ll be sure to share!