Monday, July 27, 2009

Climate Change.

7-27-09 VERMONT: Today we had an intense short T-storm at midday that dumped 0.3 inches in about twenty minutes. Yesterday I emptied 1.3 inches from the gauge—the total rain since the beginning of June has been 11.3 inches. Annualized, that would come to 68 inches of precip—a whole new climate for us here. Hopefully, our aquifer is getting recharged.

I have been catching up with chores. I finished the mulching of the roses, added pavers out front, added gravel to the driveway, cleaned the culvert again, cleared the path by the driveway, weeded and pruned, filled holes dug in the lawn by a certain puppy, who shall remain unnamed.

New blooms: pumpkin, echinacea, two-tone daylilies.

What's as dramatic as a lily?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Living on the Edge.

7-23-09 VERMONT: Sorry, dears reader, busy with guests and grand kids. Well, we had more rain, another 1.05 inches, and it's still cold.

This week the boys had no camp, other than us, fortunately, Val and Steve were here to pick up Maggie and Lucy and stayed for a few. We went to the Ruggles Mine, climbed Gile, hiked in the woods, played whiffle ball, went to the Haverhill [NH] Fair, and those under fifteen, spent time in the pond. Tomorrow they go back to California, and we go to sleep.

New blooms: hollyhocks, Asian lilies, Shasta daisies, monkshood, liatris.

Kids doing hard time.

Pond life forms.

Because it's there.


Friday, July 17, 2009

No Mercy for Wayward Grass.

7-17-09 VERMONT: Yesterday I went to Brown’s Nursery for the sale and bought a bunch of foxglove. The lower end of the rock garden has been invaded and conquered by grass. Why does grass like the garden better than the lawn with all its grassy friends? I tore everything out of that section down to the bare dirt. Like an Iranian repressive regime, I left no dissenters. I added back soil from the stashes, remade the terracing and planted the eight foxgloves and a couple of contrasts. [white bellflower, Campanula carpatica; gayfeather, Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’; and the foxgloves: Digitalis ambigua, D. ferruginea, D. purpurea ‘Foxy’ ] It looks pretty good.

New blooms: yellow day lily.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rose Campaign.

7-15-09 VERMONT: The boys are in nature camp everyday which gives us time to get all the chores done. When they’re here, they’re in and out of the pond, catching frogs, in the boat, playing with the dogs and non-stop all day, but needing supervision. Camp is more for us than for them.

Things have been slowly drying out even though we have had showers everyday, but have accumulated no more than a trace. It is still cold, barely reaching 70° maximum.

I have been working on the fence roses. They live in a slot between a stone wall and a split rail fence. The slot is two to four feet wide, and difficult to access with a trimmer. The slot was full of jewel weed, mint, ferns, equisetum, grape vines and other nameless weeds. The thorny roses hang over the fence, reaching out to the wall. I got in the slot and spent a day weeding and pruning the roses, avoiding the thorns, and got it pretty clean. Then I started putting down porous plastic mulching fabric to, perhaps, prevent future weed re-growth. I finished the plastic layer the next day, working around the roses and fence posts and, finally, covered the plastic with peat moss.

Notice the series of holes in the periphery of the upper petals of this rose? When the flower was still a bud and the petals still all wrapped together, some bug took a bite. The effect is the same as cutting a hole in a folded and re-folded piece of paper and then opening in up to see several holes.

New blooms: mallow, bind weed.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rapid Roundtrip.

We left for San José at about 2 PM Friday, picked up Eoin and Joe, and got back to Manchester at 11 PM Saturday. We flew Southwest, low budget, no frills-it was fine. The sandwiches we brought to eat on the plane were probably better than anything else I've ever eaten on an airplane. The open seating was also no problem. I must say that the cockpit crew seemed especially young. I took pictures of them during the layover in Las Vegas.

In the 33 hours we were away, we got 0.8 inches more of rain.

New blooms: summer azalea, monarda.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Coastal Roundtrip.

7-9-09 VERMONT: Last night we got another 0.2 inches of rain, but today, so far, none. It has actually been sunny. The veggies look pathetic, too cold and too wet. It will take a couple weeks of hot days to get them thriving.

San José tomorrow to pick up the boys and back on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

More Rain II.

7-8-09 VERMONT: Yesterday I got a few hours in working on the fence roses. They were getting over whelmed by giant weeds, giant from all the rain, and needed pruning of dead canes. I also trimmed all the paths around the house, raked up all the cuttings. When the rains came again, I quit. It rained on-and-off the rest of the night. This morning I emptied the boat and rain gauge [0.5inches] and started in on the roses again, pretty much finishing and dumping a cart full of compost before today’s rain began.

Besides all the rain, it has been cold. We have had a fire almost every night to dry out and warm up.

New blooms: filipendula.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Day....

Monday, July 06, 2009

Chilly Fourth.

7-6-09 VERMONT: On the Fourth, there was a series of T-storms with fireworks of their own. By evening the skies cleared, and we bundled up, gathered our rain gear, folding chairs, and bug repellent and went to Lake Morey for the pyrotechnics. The show was not bad if a bit short. We had parked about a mile from the golf course and so had an easy get-away.

The fifth was actually rain free and so was today until tonight when it started again. We have had another 0.6 inches bringing the total to 4.3 inches in 22 days.

Today I staked fallen flowers and did a bit of weeding.

New blooms: hydrangea, campanula.


Friday, July 03, 2009


7-3-09 VERMONT: We have had a string of similar days, each with rain, rain and more rain punctuated by drizzle, each day dank, damp, dark, drear, dull and wet. Everything has been soggy and squishy. Everyday I empty the rainwater out of the boat and the rain gauge. There was another 0.9 inches for a total of 3.7 inches since 6-14. The forecast for tonight: T-storms.

It has been sunny today since about nine AM and I’ve been outside weeding, pruning, etc. I got the honeysuckle next to the driveway entrance cut back, it had snuck out about five feet while I wasn’t watching. The viburnum next to it has been eaten by the Viburnum Leaf Beetle, but now seems to be recovering.

New blooms: diablo, rhododendron, thyme, astilbe, delphinium, day lily.

The peonies are finishing up.

The daylilies are starting-it must be July.