Unknown Stuff Around The Yard

Life is full of unknowns. Meaning, purpose…why bad things happen to good people….why can’t I clear level 65 of Candy Crush?  Who knows.

Our little swath of nature is full of unknowns as well.  I’ve noticed a few over the last week as we’ve been working in the yard. What we’ve been doing has been getting the front beds whipped back into shape. We were going to try to get them done for the cookout this past weekend but turns out we only got the smaller bed done. We started by weeding them, then laying garden fabric down to inhibit future weed growth and then spreading out a fresh blanket of eco mulch on top.  Weeding these big beds is like eating potato chips…you just don’t want to stop once you’ve started. I hate laying fabric down because I lack patience so the wife takes on that chore. You have to cut little holes for every plant and it’s tedious work. I stick to the dummy job of moving mulch and spreading it.

We also visited the plant nursery because black-eyed susan were half off this weekend. We picked up a dozen and planted them in the front beds. In places where the fabric was already laid down I just parted the mulch and cut the fabric, planted the plant and replaced the mulch.  They were really root bound so that’s probably why they were half off. Hopefully they’ll survive my massacring jabs to loosen up the roots as I planted them.

I finally plugged up the yellow jacket nest entry in our siding only to find them using the “back door” they created below the siding, through a gap in the termite shield. This shows how important it is to take the time to make sure everything is as tight as it can be when finishing a house with this remote wall system. If the metal termite shield droops down or isn’t up against the siding (tight enough to keep insects out but allow water to drain from the wall plane) then insects will have a field day with the rigid insulation, like they’re having with ours. Eventually if I don’t kill all the yellow jackets and seal up the termite shield I’ll have to rip my siding off and refoam that corner of the house. There isn’t a lot of blue foam dust on the ground but you can see it. And if it’s on the ground then it’s not in my walls…eventually a cold spot will form in addition to the fact that there’s a colony of yellow jackets living in the walls.

Also I’ve notice several wasps nests forming in the eaves, way up high.  No idea how to get those down unless I learn to levitate. Maybe time to call an exterminator…just don’t know if they can do it without randomly killing other stuff on the property like our honey bees or my kids.

Speaking of annoying things, when we went to the nursery, we saw oak leaf hydrangea – they were really nice looking and yes their leaves look like oak leaves. Well the plants we mail ordered from tnnursery.net that were supposed to be oak leaf hydrangea most certainly are not. I don’t know what they are.  They’re the only ones doing well, but they aren’t what we ordered. We ordered and planted a bunch of shrubs from them last year. Most did not come up this Spring. In addition to the hydrangea, one plant that did come up was supposedly a New Jersey Tea, but once again that is not what it is. I suspect that one is a type of spiraea.  Essentially I wasted a couple hundred bucks mail ordering from that company. My recommendation would be to avoid ordering from them. I was optimistic when I spoke with another out-of-state nursery and the said that tnnursery.net was notorious for sending dead or the wrong plants to people, but now I’ve learned first hand. Shame really but it’s the reality I’ve experienced. I’ll have to find out what plants I did receive, out of curiosity.

Walking around the yard I noticed other oddities that some time when I have a free moment I’ll have to look into.

  • bees “sleeping” on thistle at dusk. The bees and butterflies love the thistle, especially in the afternoon. We’ve seen at least four varieties of butterflies alone, some really big exotic looking ones too. The other night after dinner I was walking and saw a lot of carpenter bees snoozing on the thistle it looked like.
  • A weird tree by the play set with red and black berries. I need a botanist to come out and walk with me and answer my questions.
  • Discouraging rust spots on the leaves of some of the trees. I’ll have to google that one when I get a chance.
  • Strange purple plant that is growing in areas of disturbed soil…don’t recall seeing them last year but the bees seem to like them.

So there are more questions than answers. That’s part of the fun of living here. But finding time to explore and follow up with learning, is always an issue. Working from home affords me more informational foraging time, but that can also prove a distraction from work so I stay mindful. Of course for every answer I’m sure two more questions will pop up. That’s why nature is fun and interesting I suppose.

Well back to work.

P.S. I took the cover off the cistern filters to clean them out…woah, kinda weird so I called the water guy to help me out on Thursday. They were pretty green in there but not too bad. I don’t have enough water pressure to hose them out so I have to change the filter inside first to get the pressure back up….I never get ahead. Always so complicated. Ha.

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