Lawn & Garden Archives

March 15, 2007

March showers

I looked at my front yard this morning as I was on my way to the car to go to work. My grass is already high enough that it needs to be mowed again. At least in the front. It is a good thing that I actually mowed last weekend while I had the chance. Otherwise it would be overgrown this week.

I guess that we've had just enough rain this week to really make things grow.
My tomato plants are all trying to twist themselves right side up. They'll eventually bear some fruit which will force them to hang down. My oak tree is blooming nicely. And the rose bushes are going crazy with growth. No roses yet, but every bush has a lot of new growth on it. It may be for the better that I did not give them any rose food this year. I had to cut almost four feet of height off one last year. It looks like I may have to do that again this year.

I also need to plant some more herbs or spices on top of the tomatoes. All we have right now is basil. Need a couple more good options.

April 4, 2007

Name of the Rose

Yesterday, when I got home, the first thing I noticed was that one of my roses had reached full bloom. This was technically the second bloom of the year, as I picked one on Saturday for Ninsi. That one had not yet fully opened though. The one yesterday was large. Bigger than my fist. I was going to go inside, get the camera, and take a picture to post for viewing pleasure, but in between the time I went inside and could find the camera, it started to rain.

Then it started to rain harder. Eventually, the tornado sirens went off. They only sounded for about 5 minutes, but I took that time to watch the news, and learned that the severe weather was just barely missing us. It was still raining hard, but we didnt get the hail, or wind, or the funnel cloud.

The rose was still there this morning, but its glory is diminished. And since we will not be having sun for a few days, I dont think it will reclaim it's former stature. Next week though, when the sun comes back out, we should have a few dozen nice ones though.

April 9, 2007


Snow. In April.
In Texas.

How queer is that? We awoke Saturday morning to snow flurries. It wasn't much, and it never did get bad like the weatherman said it might. But it was snow. And it was cold. The basil in the garden suffered the most, it looks like. Hopefully my tomatoes are alright. I had some blooms on a couple of the plants. This weather may have stymied that. Hopefully just postponed. My poor roses have been trying to bloom for over two weeks now. All five plants developed a bunch of buds, and were ready to bloom when the weather turned cloudy, and now cold. Once it grows warm again, and sunny for a couple days, I expect to be innundated with roses.

Spent most of the weekend cleaning. I think we did 9 loads of laundry. And there is still a couple more left to be done. But I did finally start making some headway on getting the office clean. I can see the floor again. Now I just need to get the vacuum fixed so we can get the carpet clean. I want to be done cleaning, and get everything organized so I can start getting my Warhammer 40k armies together again. I haven't played in forever, and it's way overdue. I need clean space to organize and paint.

April 17, 2007


I had another follow-up eye exam yesterday. The last one for a couple years. My eyes are good. My vision is at least 20/20, and im very much okay with that. Maybe in another ten years I will need reading glasses. Maybe not.

After the exam, which took all of five minutes, I went home and mowed the yard. I thought I might try mowing it very short, so as to promote more dense grass growth. So, I set the mower on its lowest setting. Apparently, that was too low, because the cap to the sewage cleanout trap in the front yard did not survive my first pass. Previously, I had been able to mow straight over it without issue. The mower completely destroyed it. I finished the front yard at the low height though. And I think it is a little too short in general. So I raised it up a little bit before doing the back.

Today, I was going to try to go somewhere to buy a new cap for the cleanout. I called the City of Grand Prairie, and told the guy what I had done, and he said they would come out and replace it. No problemo. Sometimes, the city surprises me. I just wanted to know if I could pick one up from the city, or go buy it somewhere.

In other news, my mother gave me a sack full of VHS tapes a couple years ago wanted me to do whatever I needed to do to put them on DVD. Ive been not doing it for a long time and she has been asking me about it for a long time. So, Saturday, I finally decided to do something about it. If I were to take the tapes to a place, they would charge like $10-$12 per tape. I planned to get a VHS/DVD recorder combo box that would just do it. But I couldnt find one for less than $300. So instead, I found a thing that you connect to the VCR, and then connect to your PC with a USB cable. It has all the software for creating and editing the movies as well. At $100, it may turn out to be a real bargain. It works well so far. And, this will allow me to put several of the short VHS tapes onto one DVD.

Halo, your brother mentioned you had some old tapes you were wanting to put onto DVD. If you haven't done anything about that already, let me know. I might be able to save you some money.

April 20, 2007


Got home last night from the races and noticed that I was missing a couple flowers. Someone had stolen some of my roses. They just ripped them from the stem, didnt even bother to cut them.

That really pisses me off.

April 25, 2007


I have tomatoes!

At last count, which was last night during the rainstorm, I have two. One is about the size of my pinky nail, the other is about the size of a gold dollar. I bet that I may have more than two by the end of today. I might even have a pepper!

I never did buy those Ghost Pepper seeds that I sort of wanted. No one to blame but myself for that. But at $.50 per seed, I dont know that I was ready for that committment. I do need to get the camera out on the balcony and take a picture of the plants as they are right now. Maybe keep a small photojournal of the unside down garden. If it works well this year, then I might get another one for next year. That is a long way off though.

The balcony does smell like tomatoes.

April 30, 2007


Mowed the lawn yesterday. I had barely started on the back when I managed to hit a stump that Ive mowed over a dozen times before. Only this time, something was different, because I didnt just go over it. Maybe I just hit it at the wrong angle. Whatever it was, I hit it good, and totally fucked up the mower blade. I was going to take it to a repair show, but the turnaround time for that was about a week. So I went to Sears and bought a new blade. It seems to be working fine. I was afraid I had stripped the flywheel and really messed up the motor.

Before lunch this morning, I went to the bathroom. (exciting!) Above the urinals, they have flourescent lighting, and while I was standing there, I heard a noise that sounded a whole lot like dripping water. It sounded like it was coming straight from the lights. Ten seconds later, water started to drip through the light fixtures in the ceiling and onto the floor. Im guessing there was some significant flooding in a third floor bathroom this morning. Oddly enough, that isnt the first time Ive seen water coming out through the light fixture. Last time was at a Braum's.

May 29, 2007


New phones are in, may change my number.

Weekend was good. Got wet.

Doc only took one vial of blood today.

Muddy track does not make for easy betting.

Lawn is getting out of hand.

July 5, 2007

Basil Spider

Ninsi and I sat on the balcony last night and watched the fireworks. We could see some from Dallas, and some from Arlington. Eventually LoneStar Park started theirs, and we were able to see those as well. The best show we got, though, was from our neighbor on the back. They set off a few hundred dollars worth of fireworks. The kids got up on the carport which abutts our backyard and were setting the mortars off from there. So, from our balcony, we really had the best possible view since the fireworks were exploding directly over out backyard.

Good times, and no digits lost.

Before it got dark, Ninsi called me out to the balcony to show me this guy. He's taken up residence in one of the Basil plants we have. I believe I have seen his ilk before on my roses. I think I name him "G-man."

July 16, 2007


Possibly way back in the archives I mention the wall built by my neighbor. I had a wood fence between us, but when they moved in last March, they had a brick wall built. The concrete runoff from the footing poured onto my side and destroyed chunks of my fence. The neighbor never even talked to us before starting the wall.

Fast forward. Ive been working on cleaning up the back yard completely, and it is pretty much done. But for the concrete that was still on my side. A couple weeks ago when I was busting up the small amount on my side in the front yard, I saw my neighbor outside and talked to him. Turns out, I wasnt talking to the neighbor, but a friend or relative instead. But that guy went to fetch the actual neighbor, so I talked to him and explained the problem with the concrete and rocks.

A couple days later, he came over while Ninsi was home and busted up the excess concrete and put it all into a nice pile in my yard. It sat there for about two weeks until Friday evening while I was mowing the yard, the neighbor came over with another guy and they proceeded to throw all the rocks over the wall into his yard. So now that part of the back yard is done.

I think I'll plant some monkey grass or something along the length of the wall to cover up the footing somewhat. But it is way better already than it was. And it seems like maybe the neighbor isnt a such a bad guy after all. Just someone that didnt want to talk to us before he built the wall. Though, I dont really expect to talk to him much more now. But at least the backyard is clean.

August 20, 2007


I mowed the yard over the weekend. First time since before we went to Alaska. I had mowed the front just a day before we left, so it was not too bad. The back, however, had not been mowed in almost three weeks now, and it was way to tall. It took me almost two hours of mowing just to do the backyard. Had to refill the mower even at one point.

Normally, I don't let it get that tall, but going on vacation threw everything off kilter. I'm thinking that next year, I may hire someone to do the mowing for me.

I also fired up the tiller to see if it would work for breaking the dirt along the wall so I could level it more easily. It will work, but that tiller is a beast. Every time I use it, my back and arms wind up sore. I should start a new workout regime that involves only using the tiller. I'd be buff in no time! Or in a hospital.

October 26, 2007


I planted some tomatoes early this year on the patio. Planted them in an upside down garden, along with some peppers and other spices. When I put them in the dirt, the weather was perfect, and had been for a couple weeks. Everything started growing nicely.

Then, unexpectedly, we got a couple days of cold temperatures. It frosted. Then it started raining, and we did not see the sun for a month. This pretty much killed the tomatoes. At one point, there was a ferocious wind storm that ripped one of the plants out of the dirt and sent it flying into the backyard. I was mostly annoyed because that particular plant was the one that had actually already started to sprout fruit.

I gave up on the tomatoes.

Last week, when I was mowing the yard, I noticed a plant under the steps of the deck. It looked like a tomato plant. It smelled like a tomato plant. And sure enough, it had a tomato growing on it. It was a couple feet tall under the deck. So, either the plant that blew off took root, (not likely) or the fruit it had on it took to seed (thats my guess). I had tomatoes after all! It was just going to take another week or two to ripen.

This week, it turned cold. Last night, it frosted.

Im giving up on the tomatoes.

February 25, 2008


It's less than a month til Spring. Time to get the yard in order. Which is what I started doing yesterday.

I mowed the front yard down to about an inch tall, after pulling out all the dandelions I could find. Then got the spreader and laid out new grass seed and fertilizer. And then watered it all. I didnt see any birds eating the seeds, but I bet they did. Im debating getting a pellet gun in case I catch them at it.

Moved to the backyard after that. It has been a mess for a while. Lots of excess wood laying around. I spent about two hours cleaning that up, at least to the point where I can haul it all off as soon as I borrow a truck from someone. That may be my plan for this coming weekend.

Im ready for longer days so I can get more done after work. Though, if the Squid comes down for Spring Break, I'll probably take off work most of that week and get a lot done then anyway.

Im really starting to be annoyed by Mondays. They interfere too much with my weekends.

March 26, 2008


Ah, back to the blog again. I pretty much totally forgot about it over the last week, since I was mostly hanging out at the house. When I wasnt hanging out at the mall with the Squid while she shopped.

We had a good time. Her cousin came down with her, and they kept each other entertained most of the time, so it wasnt too rough on me. Did some shopping, some Six Flags, and some cooking. We made pizzas last week, and I'll have to post the picture of Ninsi's. It's pretty special looking. Gotta work on the dough a little bit, but otherwise, the pizzas were good. Ninsi made another one last night which looked much much better.

I took the Squid back to OK last Friday. That same day my older brother got married. And also on that day my great aunt passed away.

So, that's three relatives Ive lost in about a span of six weeks. Let's hope that is over and done with.

Ninsi and I are supposed to go do the delegate thing this Saturday morning. And outside of that, I dont think we have anything planned until next week when we have our 2nd anniversary. Followed a few days later by my birthday. I'm starting to get up there a little bit.

It is almost time to start thinking about getting some tomatoes into the ground. So i may start working on that this weekend some. Maybe I'll have better luck than last year when the whole operation was a failure, except for the one that blew away in a windstorm and took root under the deck. It just did it too late. It produced fruit, but it started to freeze again before any could ripen.

I think I'll spend some time at the home improvement store, for sure. May not buy much, but there are spring projects on the horizon that I have to start thinking about. mmmmm Spring.

April 14, 2008


Last Spring, the weather was really nice. In March, it was warm and sunny, so in late in the month, last year, I planted some tomatoes, and some herbs and spices. A week later, the temperature dropped drastically and the resulting frost nearly killed everything thing. My vegetables never recovered.

This year, I waited a bit longer to do the planting. I did it just this past weekend. A full three weeks later than I planted anything last year. And again, the weather has been nice enough for long enough that planting seemed to be in order.

This morning, there was frost on my windshield.

I dont know if it got cold enough to harm my new plants, but it is seriously annoying to plant things only to have it freeze a couple days later. I may have to give up trying to grow anything if this trend continues.

May 29, 2008

Rain Barrel

I want to make a rain barrel, or two. Our water bill last month was more than ten dollars above the normal. Not that ten dollars is a stellar amount of money, but it does mean we used a whole lot more water than we normally do.

I expected it to some degree, namely because I have been watering a lot more, trying to get the front yard to grow properly. I've put out quite a bit of new grass seed, and it requires lots of water. I do not water the back yard, but I have a tree and some plants that need watering. So, overall, we used a few hundred extra gallons.

To help mitigate our lawn and garden water usage, I want to make a couple rain barrels for capturing rain water off the roof, and then I can use that to water stuff. They are simple to make, and not uncommon. The city of Grand Prairie actually sells a kit, that includes the barrel, for $30. So I think I might buy two of those. What I can't figure out though, is how I will get the barrels back to the house. A Fifty-five Gallon barrel is not going to fit into my car. I would have better luck getting it in the Mustang with the top down.

Of course, if I could find some food-grade 55 G drums somewhere that I did not have to pay for them, then I would be able to make the barrels for a lot cheaper. It will probably take over a year to recoup the price of the a barrel if I actually do manage to lower my tap usage.

It's expensive to be green. At least at the start.

June 2, 2008


June now.
And it's hot.

But that didnt stop Reptile and I from playing golf Saturday. It was about 95 out, and we played 18 holes. Did not do as well as last week, but it was decent.

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I purchased a new slingshot for dealing with the neighbor dogs that I sometimes see in my yard. When I got home Friday, there was one that looked like it was about to walk into the yard, so I went inside and got the slingshot. Unfortunately, some of my neighbors were outside, so I had to be careful. I opened the front door and stood back out of sight. My first shot was low. But I was barely aiming. Trying to be inconspicuous. The second shot though, hit the little neighbor dog right in the abdomen. It yelped, jumped up, and ran home. Exactly what I wanted to happen. I only pulled the sling back about halfway, so it wasnt enough to actually hurt the dog. If I see him again, I might have to pull back a little more. But the slingshot purchase was totally worth it, now.

Sunday, I finally got around to doing some work in the front yard that had been annoying me for a while. When we bought the house, there were shrubs in front of the bay window, and they had used bricks, put into the ground at a slant, as the border for the shrub/yard. I took the shrubs out the first month we were in the house. Always hated those, and replaced them with rose bushes. Yesterday, I decided that I was done looking at the bricks and was tired of them falling over and looking like crap, so I bought new mulch and some landscaping edging blocks. After pulling out the old bricks and raking out the old mulch and putting in the new blocks and mulch, it looks about a thousand times better. Im only sorry I waited so long to do it.

Next project - new railing.

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