My Generator…and a Little Garden Update

So, after living up here for 32 years, I finally decided to get a generator. I got the same model as my neighbors, and Tom helped me TREMENDOUSLY with setting the generator up. I was supposed to run it for about an hour once a month. But it has a key fob that turns it on and off automatically, and I forgot to turn the start buttons to OFF, and the battery went dead. Aaargh. So, after trying to order new batteries (wrong size) Tom took my old battery to his house and powered it up! Just in time because PGE decided to take our power out all day yesterday and today. I have one light, the computer and wifi machine plugged in, and the refrigerator. And, in the morning, I bring out my coffee machine and plug it in and make myself a cup of coffee 🙂

So, here is an abbreviated garden report. The salvia seem to love the cooler weather. Their color is so brilliant blue! You can also see the zinnias that I planted in front of them. They aren’t blooming as well as I thought, maybe because the weather is so cool.

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One more pic of the salvia with my magenta geraniums in front of them.

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One zinnia.

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Okay. Have you guys ever heard of Giant Poison Ivy? All those red leaves are poison ivy. And this past summer, I actually got poison ivy on my arm just from a little shoot that was starting up. Anyway, it is starting to come into my yard. So I have a plan. In the middle of winter I am going to get disposable clothing from the thrift store, going to put a plastic bag over my head, and get good gloves from Walmart, and I am going to cut that sucker down, along with the little tree it is climbing. I have poison and a good sprayer all ready to go. After all is done, I will throw away everything that I was wearing and go take a shower.

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Here you can see the base of it. It is a pretty good sized vine.

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This abutilon is huge, and it didn’t bloom this year. So it is going! Hopefully I can dig it out myself.

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Here is a part of the garden that I am very pleased with. It got shadier over here, so I planted heuchera and ferns. They are all doing so well.

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All the maples are doing well, and all the trees. I got quite a few apples on my apple tree this year, maybe because I pruned it last winter. But mostly I am a little overwhelmed by the garden. It hurts my back to bend down and pick weeds, so I mostly don’t do that. I am having my tree guy come to prune the flowering cherry this fall. It is getting too tall! Anyway, that’s the report for now. Hopefully I’ll have some fall color to show you in a little while.

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Just a Few Little Things to Show

This is the biggest news. Every since I’ve lived here, I had CATTLE gates. Yuck. So one day I asked my contractor if he would be able to build gates and a partial fence. I just loved this round gate that I found on the internet, and he also built a trellis in front of it so I can get some climbing roses and put them there. I want to get Queen Elizabeth roses, but the climbing ones are hard to find. Anyway, I love the fence so much that I am going to put the fence all the way around my yard eventually. Also, there is welded wire on the outside of the fence so Sophie can’t get out and skunks can’t get in! You can also see the little patio that I had built. Sadly, I haven’t used it much yet.

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I hardly ever remember to take a picture of Noah right after he has his bath. Isn’t he a handsome dog. He’s going to be 10 years old in a couple of weeks!

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This is just Chloe and Sophie trying to get me to feed them. They were barking at me, but I didn’t get that shot.

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And my new baby chickens are just about grown up. I have four blue laced red wyandottes, 2 Black Astralorps, and 2 Barnvelders.

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The babies are still afraid of most of the chickens, so I was surprised when I saw this picture of one of my Dominique chickens up there with the babies.

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And that’s about all the news that’s fit to print.

Applying for Medicare

I Know! Its hard to believe I’m this old. But I will be 65 in December, and so I had to start making preparations. It made me very nervous. But there is a guy at the UC Center that has helped me with health care over the years, and he told me last year to call him in September.

In fact, I had already received my Medicare card, and I didn’t even know it because I was a little afraid to look at that piece of mail.

Anyway, this guy told me exactly what to do. Turns out my supplemental insurance from the UC system will only cost me $40 instead of the $340 I was paying! And he did advise me to sign up for part D (medicine.) I was pretty sure I wanted to do that, because my mom did not sign up for it, and now she has to pay $50 extra every month…

So I got a little confused about how to do that, but then I saw you could sign up online. Oh, and let me advise you—READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT YOUR PASSWORD. I about gave up on getting a password until I looked over and saw there were MORE instructions about the password. So then I tried signing up for the basic medicine (part D) which said it was $12.90. But then I filled out the whole questionnaire, and at the end it said I had EnvisionRxPlus, and it did not say how much that cost! I tried calling them, but I did not have the number they wanted so that didn’t work. The next morning, I tried live chatting with medicare, but they also couldn’t help me. Then I finally saw that they had a website. Went on there, and sure enough, the cost was $12.90…

Anyway, looks like I am set, and I will have more choices than ever, according to the UC guy. I also found this interesting article talking about if you even need supplemental insurance with Medicare.

New Stuff in the Garden

I know I haven’t been posting much this summer. It has been a busy summer. My mom’s health hasn’t been that good, and also I finally got my little patio put it. I’ll take pictures of that later. I’m also going to get some real gates (I’ve had cattle gates for YEARS!) My good contractor Jay has been doing all this for me.

Here are some new things in the garden. I have reverted to putting things in pots again. Here’s a trio of pots.

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And here is the big plant a few weeks later:

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Here are some more potted plants:

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This begonia sits atop an oak stump. I haven’t had much luck here, but the begonia is doing great!

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Outside the fence I always look for plants that are deer resistant. I found this plant. And then I saw on Lori’s blog that she had a similar one and called it bee balm. Sure enough, I checked the label, and mine was bee balm too!

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Only one of my hydrangeas bloomed this year. I’m going to have to investigate and see if there’s a specific fertilizer that I need to put on them.

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My daisies are always pretty, but they are in the shade too much, and eventually they just fall over.

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The day lilies put on a good show this year. I’d like to get some more of them.

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And I had lots of oriental lilies all around my yard:

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One day I went to my local nursery looking for a few plants. They just didn’t have anything I wanted. So I stopped at Lowe’s (which I usually avoid) and they had some really pretty plants that were in good condition. I got two geraniums, and planted them in front of the blue salvia.

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And I got a really pretty heuchera. Once again, my garden is getting more and more shady, so I am turning this little bed into a shade bed.

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Here is something very interesting to me. I had a “Raspberry Dazzle” verbena from last summer. Because we had a mostly mild winter, it stayed alive. So I was super excited to see it bloom again. But it just sat there for the longest time. Just this week I went out and it was covered with blooms! Sometimes it pays to be patient in the garden.

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I just finished doing this. It was a big job. I’ve had ivy growing below this lace leaf Japanese maple almost as long as I had it. But this maple is fairly short, and I decided that the ivy detracted from it. So I spent several days pulling the ivy out. I am planning on getting some of my favorite corsican mint to plant underneath it.

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And to end, here’s a little chicken report. Did I already tell you that I got 8 baby chicks? What a mess! But finally they were old enough to move out to the big chicken house. All the literature warns that older hens can be quite hard on the baby chicks. So for a couple of weeks, they stayed in the big chicken house in their rabbit cage. And finally I took their rabbit cage out. They just didn’t know what to do with themselves! And they still haven’t gone outside. I’m not going to try to make them go out until they are ready. I don’t want any chicken massacres on my hands!

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What Happened in my Garden

Here’s what I saw when I drove up. This is that little wild rose just loaded down with blooms! I pruned it pretty severely this winter, but it does seem to be getting bigger and bigger!

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Here’s the garden with my roses, the canterbury bells, and a foxglove that managed to get in there. I even have a few delphiniums blooming there!

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A close-up:

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And this was a big surprise. One of my little trees is an azalea, and I was so surprised to see it blooming.

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I walked outside the yard to get this picture of my honeysuckle vine. I also pruned it pretty severely in the winter. It is huge, and I love when I walk outside in the evening and get a whiff of that beautiful perfume from them.

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And this is what the chickens do ANY TIME I walk by them. They are always certain that I am bringing them food or a treat. And usually, they are right 🙂

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This week its supposed to be in the 90’s all week, so I will be walking early in the morning, spending some time in the garden, giving Noah the big white dog a bath, and then spending the majority of time in the house rug hooking and quilting.

Someone Else’s Garden

I went to Cambria Pines Rug Camp again. It is one of my favorite places to go. Partly because it is fun to spend four days doing nothing but rug hooking, and partly because the grounds are so beautiful and the food is so good. The first day I took a walk in a back area. Even here, they have made a pretty landscape.

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I love the way they have hung hanging baskets all along this fence.

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This picture just makes me want to have more and more snapdragons!

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And this was such a pretty arrangement of succulents.

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I love these little bird houses with plants on top of them. This one is filled with succulents.

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And here’s what I did while I was at camp. This is a design I drew illustrating “The Parable of the Seeds” from the Bible. I even looked up “Israeli birds” and those are some birds that I found. They really are brilliant green! This is a simple pattern and I really had fun working on it.

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Cambria is very near to the sea, so the temperatures were moderate all week. I don’t think it ever got over 70 degrees. One of my nurse friends retired recently, and she was interested in rug hooking, so we went together–so fun!

While I was gone, the temps soared up by my house, so come back in a couple of days to see some of my own garden.

Columbines!

Columbines are such a wonderful flower. They come back year after year. And sometimes they send out seeds and multiply. Here are some of the columbines that are growing in my yard this year.

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This garden of mine is pretty big. And to be honest, most of the work I do out there is the work I have always done. But it just seems overwhelming this year. I go out probably four days a week and just choose one area to weed. When I get that area cleared I can go and buy a few plants at the nursery to fill in. Today I got some of my usuals: corsican mint (a ground cover that smells absolutely heavenly,) white sweet alyssum, and a “peach glow” lantana. I planted the lantana in a different place this year, with full sun, and am hoping that it will do better than the past few years.

Another plan I have is to allow certain areas to just go wild. In other words, I’m not going to prune the flowering almond and the bridal veil bush, and I am going to allow the violets and the fairy impatiens to have free range (except for a few areas 🙂 )

Last year my foxgloves needed to be replaced, and I chose to plant Canterbury bells instead. They are getting ready to bloom, and I am interested to see what they look like. Many of my roses are full of buds, but we’ve had a cold spell for a few days so they are taking their sweet time.