Bit all over the place

I think I’m going to be calling my newest art installation: Invisible Cat

DSCN7396.JPG

Our cat’s collar somehow got wrapped around one of the metal supports on their feeding dishes.  She went on a panicked rampage through the house, dragging the stand and destroying everything.  My room was hit the hardest; it’s her safe space.  She also picked the most stereotypical cat thing in the room to open and dump everywhere.  I’m almost proud of her.

Some of our friends just had a new addition arrive at their house in the form of a giant, bouncing baby boy.  Giant because he was almost 11 pounds!  I made them a lot of stuff for their little girl a few years ago, as we’d find out what they needed, but now they live forever away so I just made a small robot lovey (his dad is an EE that works with automation) for the little guy.  Hopefully it’ll get some use; I loved visiting them and bringing the girl a homemade toy every time and watching her play with it.  It’s nice to know somebody appreciates your work!  😛

DSCN7397.JPG

Sometimes, there’s a lot of satisfaction in proving somebody wrong…especially when that person is generally hateful towards you and never has anything nice to say.  Maybe I’ve just grown tired of being told to listen to “authority” or to “know my place”.  I’m not being mean or malicious about it but I just want everybody to know that he was wrong.

I can grow a tropical hibiscus in a zone 5.  Not only that, but I have two and they’re both flourishing.  They’re actually doing better than a lot of my cold climate plants this year — the rains and heat has been a bit unusual.

20180708_114825

I’ll move them inside this winter before it freezes and hope to keep them happy as larks for years to come.

Speaking of garden, we’ve been having mysterious holes appearing all over our yard this summer.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for chipmunks and voles but haven’t seen any of our usual suspects.  Plus, the holes weren’t right.  I still wouldn’t have been able to solve the mystery but I caught the culprit on film a few days ago.

DSCN7376.JPG

This Northern Flicker (yellow shafted — you can see a bit of it peeking through the wings) was happily pecking at our yard for almost two hours…s/he left a nice, perfectly shaped hole in that spot.  As I said, we’ve had a lot of rain and some ant nests have popped up in weird places.  I’m really glad we don’t typically spray pests around the house.  I’d hate to hurt our residents.  The flickers had another nest this spring in our owl box — it was great fun to sit out there in the evening and listen to the babies chirp.  🙂

Advertisements

Oh, deer

Our yard is finally starting to wake up from its winter slumber!  I’m so happy that I don’t see any casualties (yet) from the very harsh conditions this year.  I think it was the 3rd snowiest year on record, ever, for our area thanks to the back-to-back-to-back nor’easters that hit in March.  Up until today, we also had fresh snow every day in April.  Spring as been fun for those of us who enjoy snow!  🙂

The one issue I did notice when I was trampling around in my yard yesterday was deer damage.

Do any of my fellow gardeners and plant lovers have any good suggestions for ways to discourage the pesky deer?

They really chewed on just about everything this year, even plants they normally don’t bother that much.  I don’t know if it was because winter seemed so much longer this year or what, but they’ve nipped almost every bush I have down and stripped bark off of trees.

I was proactive this year and put a wrap on my pink magnolia — they always nibble and strip it, so at least the base of it was saved and I still have some blossoms higher up.  They chewed anything else they could reach though.  My rhododendrons look like they’ve been a buffet, as do my mountain laurel and azaleas; all of them have been stripped of leaves.  They’re still supple and green, though, so I’m hoping they can recover.  I have quite a few rhododendrons and they’re all really large and would be hard to cover, so the deer have been really at it recently.  The ground around them is churned up badly and covered in scat.

Thankfully, my new-ish berry bushes have been completely unscathed.  I think the deepness of the snow spared them from unwanted attention (usually the rabbits are what get after them anyway).  They look healthy and happy and I’m looking forward to adding some blueberries, black currants, and lingonberries this year to our normal blackberry and raspberry crops!  I hope!  🙂

Aside from deer damage, Logan and I have had a busy week.

Three doctor appointments, one vet specialist, our anniversary, and two shows at our local theater!

We were supposed to have contractors at the house this morning but they had to reschedule for next week.  They’re installing air conditioning!!!   Other people lost heat and that seemed more important to all of us; it’s still way too cold for air co and the need for heat is very real since it’s still dipping into the 20s at night here.

The doctor appointments all went well.  The end results are I have new glasses — I’m getting less and less far-sighted as my optometrist of yore predicted when I was little.  Logan has to have a skin biopsy next month but we’re not too worried about it.

Our little doggo Mitzi has been having a really odd leg thing since December where she’ll randomly draw one leg up for no longer than a minute and whimpering slightly like it’s hurting her.  As soon as it’s over, it’s over.  It repeats every couple weeks.  Earlier this month, she has three episodes in a day and we took her to the vet.  He couldn’t figure out what on earth may be causing it, so referred us to a neurologist.  Who would’ve thought those existed?  The neuro said her evaluation was great but he thinks she may either be having partial seizures or have a muscle contracting disorder, which usually presents when they’re younger.  He’s leaning towards seizures right now but we’re watching and waiting and trying to gather more data before diving into a very expensive MRI or a risky drug trial.

I found a video of another Mini Schnauzer that was having the exact problems that Mitzi was and the dog is the same age, so I left a comment but I don’t have any hopes of hearing back from them.  For the sake of interest or if anybody else has had a similar experience, the video is here.

The shows we saw were lots of fun.

We saw Wrath of Khan, followed by a Q&A with William Shatner.  He was, as always, full of personality.  The last time Logan and I saw him was years and years ago at Dragon*Con when he did a panel with Leonard Nimoy.

We also saw a really odd amalgamation of things — poetry, music, interpretive dance, dramatic readings — performed by Bill Murray.  I think my favorite parts were when he chose to sing, sometimes off key.  …or maybe when he decided to run out in the audience and fling the bouquet of roses somebody gave him at audience members.  That was super entertaining.  So was his playing the piano with his butt, but that’s neither here nor there.  😛  It was an all around entertaining show and not entirely a comedy as one would expect from the likes of Bill Murray.

“Title”

The bad news is in:

Logan’s plum tree has root rot.  The rain has been so unrelenting this year that I’m really not surprised.

We’re going to try digging it up tomorrow, if the weather cooperates, and cleaning up the roots to see if it can be transplanted somewhere else and saved.

The bugs and other fungus are having a riot of a time this year, so if we ever have a good 12 hours of no rain we’ll try spraying what we can.  I don’t like using any -icides but sometimes it’s necessary and it would seem that this year would be the case.

We’ve actually only mowed the yard fully once this year because of the rain — Logan is working on the second mowing this weekend but it has started raining on him both days while he was out there.  It’s kind of ridiculous.

Two more of my roses are blooming though, so I’m happy about that!  The Cherry Parfait and the Blueberry Hill.

 

It’s hard to tell from the evening sun, but the Blueberry Hill is a light lavenderish color when it first blooms.   You can, however, tell the poor rose has had more than its fair share of something gnawing away at the leaves.

We also have some lilies, other than ditch lilies, opening at long last!

DSCN4980

Something is chewing at them too.  Bah and humbug!

Guess that’s why we keep the Flycatcher around, as bug control.  One of them brought a dragonfly  (okay, so I’m a fan of dragonflies) back to the babies tonight while I was puttering around checking on things and Logan was mowing.

DSCN4990

Logan finally got to hear the chicks calling — at least one of the babies is adorably vocal almost all the time now and I got a short recording of it before it took the dragonfly into the box.  I really cannot wait until they start flying.  Fingers crossed that I’ll actually get to see one!

Can you swim in the air?

Seriously…can you swim in the air?

It’s so humid right now that that I think I could.  I felt like I was gargling water instead of breathing when I was outside this afternoon.  X_x

Thankfully it was just for a little while — we had some bulbs dropped off to plant around our ugly septic cover.  I hope this will finally be enough to mask that hideous thing.  They’re supposed to be giant lilies with black centers and red tips.  We’ll see how they turn out next year when they grow…if they grow.

While I was slogging outside in the humidity, I thought I’d grab a few more photos.  Because, why not?  🙂

 

We have berries on the way!  Most of our strawberries have several berries in addition to more blooms.  We really need to throw a net over that area before the birds have a feast.  The blackberries are already so loaded (and they’re still most blooms) that they’re drooping to the ground!  The black raspberries are starting to grow nicely and should start to be turning color soon.  I’m excited, those are my favorite of the three.  🙂  I didn’t see any berries on the currant, but wasn’t really expecting much from its blooms this first year.

 

Some of my roses are opening up too.  I wish I could share scent, the red ones are absolutely divine.  The little pink and white “Freckle Face” ones are just cute.  🙂  The purple spiderwort are also in full bloom and the rest of my peonies are finally open!  The other peonies smell better, so I clipped a few and brought them inside, but I like the color of the yellow the best (and it doesn’t have the best smell, so I leave it outside to look pretty).  I’m not sure what the golden flowers are right off, but they really are spreading around and I like how brilliant and bright they are.

…and for the last photos, the Flycatchers decided to come out and play a bit more today!

 

The males and females look incredibly similar but I’m pretty sure it’s the male hanging out near our old tomato cage.  The one I think is the female is staying much nearer the box and not really wanting to leave — she mostly stays at the hole and watches for food now and just darts out to grab a dragonfly or some other tasty bite then heads back in and starts her guard again.  I included the other photo of her on the top of the box (she was just hopping out to go grab something) to show the wing patterns on their back.  They’re such lovely little birds.

After those photos, I’d been outside long enough and retreated back to the land of a portable air conditioner.

On the bright side, the heat has finally decided to take a break so it’s no longer in the 90s!  Hooray!  We’ve been making excuses to get out of the house the past few days to escape it.

On Thursday we went to a retirement party for one of Logan’s coworkers.  The guy is kind of a legend for a variety a reasons and most of them aren’t what most people would want to be known for…but he owns up to them in an awesome way and wasn’t ashamed at all when almost all the toasts were about poisonous gas lockdowns at nuclear power sites stemming from his love of burritos.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him and I don’t say that about many people.

We also went out to see Riverdancing.  It was a fantastic show, though I hate to admit I think my favorite parts were the tap dancers and the Russian dancers.  They really added some spice and flare.  The Irish dancers were phenomenal though.

 

 

Blossoms

With a few days of sunshine, we finally have a few things blooming around here!

20170609_172617

My first peony opened up.  I’m not sure why this bright reddish pink one always beats the rest of the peonies by a week or so, but I’m not complaining at finally having a bright pop of color in the front of the house!

20170609_172726

All of our irises opened overnight.  It was spectacular waking up to find them.  We have a few fancier ones scattered about in our flower beds, like above, most most are the wild blue ones and line the forest where it’s marshier.

20170609_172830

I thought I’d throw in a photo of some black currant blossoms while I was at it.  I’m still very excited to have these!  Not sure if they’ll develop into berries — there are actually quite a lot of them on the little bush that has really taken off — but I’m happy to see the plant is doing so well for being new.

20170609_172959

…and chives!

Normally our chives don’t get much of a chance to blossom — we eat a lot of chives around here and our big dog, Thorin, likes to eat the blossoms when he thinks nobody is looking — so at best I get a bit of chive blossom butter.

This is from last year when Thor was “helping” me salvage the garden after I was out of town for a month:

14079999_789905007799_7724644798807569780_n.jpg

We’ve had a healthy crop of chive blossoms available this year, so I’ve been putting them to better use than blossom butter.  The butter is good, but vinegar is better!

I’ve already soaked the first set of blooms in rice vinegar for Logan.

19113080_852747356229_363688640_n

I just love the color it turns the vinegar!   …and he loves the taste.

I’m not a huge fan of rice vinegar, but you can see he’s already been tucking into his bottle of it.  He eats it on pretty much everything.  We should just buy rice vinegar by the crate. 😛

I harvested all of the chive blossoms yesterday and have them soaking in a jar of apple cider vinegar now.  In a few weeks, I’ll strain and divide the vinegar between my Mom and I since she’s also a fan of apple cider vinegar…she’s never had any chive blossom vinegar, but I’m betting she’ll love it.  She cooks with apple cider vinegar like I do and  the infused vinegar makes things like potato salad even better!  Mmmm!

Sunshine and scissors

The sun finally came out for a bit!

It did sprinkle a bit in the late morning yesterday but it was nice to have a semi-dry day the rest of the evening.  It certainly was the first time in a long time.

I used the opportunity to dash outside, slog around in the standing water, and check on my new plants.

Thankfully, all of the crazy rain doesn’t seem to have bothered any of them.

Logan was happy to see the plum is putting out branches; we’re picking off a lot of the new growth to make sure it works on establishing roots too, but we’re letting it keep some of the branches that will work with the overall shape the tree needs to take as it grows.  The pink blueberry could look a little happier, but it’s very tiny and hasn’t seen sun since it has arrived, so maybe it will perk up after yesterday and today.

My new strawberries are overflowing with blooms!  As are the blackberry and black raspberry bushes that are in the woods — those were a real treat to find when we moved here, so I’ve made sure Logan knew what they are and we’ve keep other plants from overwhelming them and they’ve gotten quite huge now; he loves blackberries and black raspberries are basically my childhood, so those plants get thoroughly picked over every year by us.  The new black currant (I think I have a theme here with liking dark berries?) is also covered in blossoms, which I wasn’t expecting so soon.  We’ll have to put up bird netting over both areas once the berries start to develop.

The ornamentals we’ve planted this year also look quite happy: mountain laurel, rhododendron, and weigela.

We’re still waiting on a few more things to arrive from the nursery, but that’s all in good time. 🙂  The wait is always part of the fun.

Since I’ve been stuck inside, I finally reactivated Netflix, which has made hand-quilting a bit less monotonous.

20170606_162041

I’m done with all of the middle rows now and onto the last row of whatever you want to call those shapes with what looks like googly eyes.  The pattern hasn’t been very kind for continuous line quilting so has been a very slow adventure any way you look at it — guess that’s what I get for deciding to try to do a wholecloth off of a coloring book picture — but I still like hand quilting…so I guess it hasn’t ruined me yet.

Now I just get to hope that the Crayola marker washes out of that muslin and that the “Sangria” thread doesn’t bleed when it does.

My cats have been using this basted quilt as a pillow for months now and are quite agitated that I’ve stolen it from them to work on it again.

Yesterday, one of my crafting comrades couldn’t find a pair of scissors.  She’s a multiple discipline crafter like me, so I found it weird that she couldn’t find scissors.

Then I remembered all the times I can never find scissors…which is pretty much any time I’m not in my sewing room.  Touch those scissors for any reason that’s not directly related to sewing, fabric, or yarn and risk losing the hand that touched them!

So I went on a pointless quest yesterday to find and count all of the scissors in my house.

Holy crap, guys.  Don’t do that.  It’s depressing.

I found 47 pairs of scissors.  47!!!

Left to right, top to bottom: bedroom, bathroom, sewing room, kitchen, basement, garage

I didn’t even dig through Logan’s stuff in the basement to find all of his specialty scissors and snips and shears like I did in my sewing room.  We work under a mutual agreement of leave my stuff alone and I leave your stuff alone.  Mainly because if I don’t work under that agreement, he’d hope that I’d clean his stuff up.  Nope and double nope.

The one sanity saver with the scissors is that the vast majority of them have been gifts or we’ve inherited them or just had them forever — I’ve had my folding embroidery snips since I was seven (and they’ve found three friends somewhere along the way)!  I’ve bought a few of my specialty ones but the rest of them have just made there way here like lost puppies and we’ve adopted them.

For example in the bedroom photo:  The little scissors are in my “knit kit” and belonged to Logan’s grandmother.  The blue ones are my desk scissors that I’ve had since college and the snowman ones were given to him as a stocking stuffer (play on his last name) and are his desk scissors.  We don’t share well. 😛

Speaking of my knit kit!

DSCN4799.JPG

The photo is a bit dark because that knit-chek in the front kept reflecting the flash but it’s mostly visible.

Everything packs down into the little elephant tin pencil box then I can just toss it and my yarn into my purse and head out the door….even the knit-chek, even though the perspective makes it look like it’d never fit.  Sometimes I have crochet needles in there too or a cable needle and sometimes the dice aren’t there, depending on the project at the time….but that’s the basic idea of it.  That’s how it’s packed in currently for the scarf (and shawl I need to recast and start over).

What’s in there?  Two boxes of split ring markers (I prefer split rings since I crochet too and one of my boxes is currently empty since it’s distributed on projects).  There’s a highlighter and pencil with a small sticky pad for notes on the go.  A counter that you can wear on your finger (I forget about the ones that you put on needles).  A gauge and needle/hook sizer.  My scissors.  A set of dice for the RPG scarf….and a magnetic needle box with two safety pins, a threader, three large needles for weaving in ends, and a weird little T-pin that’s handy for breaking my interchangeable circular needles apart.

All in all, it’s pretty darn handy and compact. 🙂

 

 

Flycatcher

Yesterday we cleared out the crazy sapling infested who-knows-what-it-was-supposed-to-be hosta ring and put our bright pink rhododendron in the center.  Okay, I mostly nursed my still very swollen ankle (kind of tired of this!) and grumbled and hobbled around where I could.

I can’t wait for it to grow nice and huge and be one of the first things I see in the mornings.

DSCN4713

Turns out that ring of hosta was planted to hide roots for a long gone tree in the area.  The roots were poking out everywhere but dry and brittle, so it took a lot of back and upper body strength to break through all the dirt in the center.  We still haven’t laid the landscaping fabric and mulched it so we don’t have to fight more saplings; it got late and today it rained nonstop.  That can wait for another day, though. 🙂

…and of course there were more than a fair share of stray bricks to be dug up.  The only bricks in the house are in the chimney.  Not sure why they’re all over the yard.

We also went ahead and dug out all the saplings we could out of the creeping myrtle/vinca minor/periwinkle (whatever you choose to call it) that borders the woods on our property.  I’m contemplating spraying for ticks this year; they’ve been insane.  I flicked the fifth or so one crawling off of me today (and I didn’t even go crawling around in the bushes today!)…thank goodness none have burrowed yet.  Lyme disease is horrible here and our next door neighbor just died of it in March.

I also -finally- caught a good glimpse of our nester in the owl box!  We have Great Crested Flycatchers!

DSCN4718

The picture is total crap; one flew out and landed on a tomato cage in the abandoned garden while we’re still procrastinating moving everything — I think this year, with the vacation coming up in July, that we may just not plant a food garden and work on building and moving everything instead — and I just grabbed a quick shot so I could make sure to get an ID later.  The birds don’t land often (and now we know why, seeing as they’re flycatchers), so it’s been hard for us to figure out who we have in residence.

My birthday also happened.  Logan gave me a wonderful set of books and a jewelry box to go along with the knitting needles and DVD he’s already given me.

The jewelry box was more for him than me, I suspect.  My current one is a wall mounted thing that looks like a photo.  It’s over our printer and I’m always dropping earrings down into our printer or heater and he’s having to fish sparklies out of things.  >_>

The books, though, are amazing.  The DVD established I’m a Miyazaki fan and the books are a hardback copy of his Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind manga.  It’s stunning.  The film adaption is one of my favorites, so I know I’m going to love reading through this.  Amazon says they’re 1104 pages combined.  The artwork alone is gorgeous, so I’m already happy. 😀

DSCN4723DSCN4724

Grumble, Logan, grumble

Logan was a total jerk and put a chair with a fan on it in my little, narrow walkway around the bed to the bathroom.  There is an entire empty side of the room he could have put it closer to him…but he put it riiight in my path.

I drink well over a gallon of water a day, mostly thanks to my migraine meds.  They make me incredibly thirsty and cause kidney stones, so bring on the water!

Early this morning, when the birds started singing at the crack of dawn, my bladder started singing too.  By some miracle, I avoided the chair and fan on my way out but in my glassesless sleep stupor, I totally nailed it while stumbling back to bed in the dark.

Totally nailed it.  Face planting, falling, stubbing my toes, reinjuring my almost healed sprained ankle nailed it.

My ankle is tennis ball sized again. 😦  It also hurts in places it didn’t before.

So, instead of being able to sleep in this weekend, Logan was awakened at the crack of dawn to bellows of pain and surprise…and now he’s outside to escape a very grumpy wife.  He’s actually outside trying to figure out why so many weeds have sprouted in just one spot of the strawberry patch we planted last weekish.

20170527_185655

Should I let him know it’s from the bird feeder he hung above it or just let him wonder forever?

I moved the feeder when we finished planting (why would you feed birds above your berry patch?!), but the birds had already made enough of a mess to let a nice swath of millet and sunflowers start sprouting though.  XD

Outside at last!

I’ve never tried posting from my phone before so instead of letting this become a wild jumble of autocorrect babble, I’ll try not to rant like I normally do.   ;P

It has been raining here a lot the past few days.  This bucket was empty when I saw it earlier this week.

20170527_164644.jpg

…and my flower beds seem more mushrooms than flowers.

20170527_190639

It was finally a nice day,  so instead of working outside like I should have, I went to the local nursery then took a nap.

We ended up getting a “Fine Wine” Weigela for one of our front beds.  Logan actually picked it because he likes the dark foliage.   I don’t think he knows about it blooming pink yet.   …or that we have an old fashioned weigela right next to where this one is being planted.  No matters, it’s still pretty!  😛

20170527_183203

I also couldn’t resist and finally got a bright pink rhododendron.  I can’t remember its cultivar right off.  I’ve always loved the really bright ones!

20170527_190111.jpg

I had a gift card for the nursery otherwise I don’t think I would have caved due to the high price tag.   Mitzi also seems to like the new plant.

We’ve been digging up the over-grown beds this year.  Tomorrow we’re clearing out the center of this ring of hostas, moving some of the crowded hostas to make a walkway border then planting the rhododendron in the center.

20170527_190246

Our big dog, Thorin, lurks in the background; he’s fascinated by the birds nesting in our owl box.

The only thing in the center of the hostas now are tree saplings and what I know as ditch lilies.  We’ll move the ditch lilies to a part of the side yard where nothing grows since they seem to thrive anywhere.  We’re still not sure why on earth the prior owners of the house planted hostas like that.

We did do a bit of real yardwork.  I tilled a bed that was just some primrose, after digging some up to save, and we’re making it our official berry bush garden.

20170527_173423.jpg

There were more buried rocks, concrete, bricks, and tiles than there had been flowers.  Ugh.

See the little plant?  That’s my  black currant!  It looks so happy!  It’s beside of a new pink lemonade blueberry (below) and hope to plant a lingonberry if we can find one.

20170527_185619

The whole time we were outside, Logan kept trying to figure out what smelt so “sweet”, not realizing that he was between two beds that have exploded with lily of the valley.

20170527_185844

I love them, but they desperately need to be thinned.  The garden work never ends! 🙂

When the mosquitoes chased Logan back inside, we got our seasonal inside hanging herb garden up.  We don’t get enough sun in winter to keep it going. 😦

20170527_161652

…and my sidekick, Joule, had to figure out why I smelt like dirt and not cat treats.

20170527_161705

Looking for shade (+plants)

Fun side effect of my new medicines: heat intolerance to the point of a marked increased chance of heat stroke.  My neurologist likes to warn me about fevers and any other medications that would affect temperature regulation — I already don’t sweat like most people, so regulating my temperature is already an issue.

My new, expensive medication also has a fun “Stay out of the sun!” warning that the dermatologist was very keen to point out, repeatedly before I left the office.  So, I’m kind of stuck today.  Melting.

Luckily, I already just didn’t like being in the heat.  I’ve never been a sun seeker, preferring to stay pasty pale and find a good shady spot.  Living in Georgia for a while was *not* my definition of fun.  Moving northward was the happiest news Logan (then just a sad little boyfriend) could have possibly delivered to me at that point in my life.

But we’re having a bit of a heatwave here.

It’s 95 outside and just reached 84 in the bedroom.  X_x

We don’t have air conditioning.

I think it’s time for me to draw a cold water bath and turn into a beached whale for a while with a good book.

I tried sewing for a while.  My craft room is -thankfully- one of the coldest rooms in the house.  It’s above the laundry room, which is semi-underground, and doesn’t have any windows that get direct sun…and I’ve put up black-out curtains to protect the precious fabric and goodies stashed away in there.  But it’s still hot.  Plus, the cats and dogs started beating down the door trying to get in and hide.  It’s bad when the cats are seeking cool places.

Except Joule.

DSCN4657

We threw all of the covers off of the bed last night and onto Logan’s computer chair and, of course, she tried to hide under them like she does on the bed.  It didn’t quite have the same effect.  A for effort, though.

I did sneak outside this morning before it became too miserable so I wouldn’t feel completely cooped up inside.

DSCN4685

The pansies in my planter boxes are loving the heat (glad something is).  They were looking pretty puny after all the cold and rain we’d been having.  I always let Logan pick out the annuals for the planter boxes, he really seems to enjoy it.  He’d somehow never seen pansies before (?!?!) and fell in love with them.  My Granny Boo used to always plant some in a huge cast iron cauldron in her backyard, so I know I’ll like having them to remind me of her all summer.

DSCN4679

I moved my bird feeder to the other side of the stand and still this squirrel is causing problems.  This time he’s just hanging around — doesn’t care that he’s “activated” the “squirrel proof” mechanism due to his size…he just chewed a hole right in the plastic near the second leaf and eats his fill while upside down.  Ugh, he’s such a jerk.  He’s also totally unafraid of me, so not sure how to mitigate his binge eating.

…and some strawberries that we planted bareroot this week have started popping up!  *happy dance*  Glad to know I did something right.  😀  The plum has leaves already too.  I’m not feeling too confident about the blueberry, though it came here looking shriveled and dead; one of the stems was brittle and the green stem’s leaves were brown and curled…now the green stem is turning black at the pruned portion and at the root, so I contacted the company to ask for a replacement.

DSCN4694

Since we’ve moved here, I’ve been working on establishing shade happy gardens as most of our house is in shade thanks to several oaks that are well over a hundred years old.  I love those oaks, they’re a big reason we bought the house.  Logan and I agreed we could do a lot to update the physical house but no matter where we bought a house elsewhere here, we’d never, ever have trees and a forest like we do here.  They’re amazing; I can’t get my arms around most of them.   …and I do like to hug those trees.  >_>;;

From Google street view:

Untitled

Hopefully the car and house are a decent enough representation of scale.  We have a lot of shade…and this photo shows maybe enough sun on that part of the roof that I can look into solar panels after all!  Never hurts to investigate into such things! 🙂

Regardless, the big shade garden in the back, where the shadow of the house falls has really established well and I’m confident enough in it to move to the deep shade side of the house where the larger oaks are.

I just want a bit more variety around the house.

When we first moved in, this whole bed was nothing but a mounding geranium in the front and poison ivy.  This picture was taken a couple of years ago when I first planted everything (and I have since added a few more things):

shade

There are a few varieties of coral bells, the huge mounding geranium that was already there, primrose along the border where it gets a bit of sun, a dwarf blue rhododendron by the stairs, some sweet woodruff that I’m slowly letting creep and take over to become ground cover so I never have to mulch there again *evil grin* (ours only grow about 4″ tall), some solomon’s seal I found in the woods and moved there, spiderwort, a few colors of bleeding hearts, and I added a few green hellebores.

…the red bleeding hearts are spectacular right now.  As of this morning:

DSCN4691

I know I definitely want additional colors of hellebores around the house and probably more bleeding hearts — I find them fascinating.  Not sure about the rest, though.

Right now the only things living on that side of the house are moss, forsythia (somehow), and hosta.  So many hosta.

It really is shady on that side of the house, so partial sun would be the most any plant could hope for but most would be in full shade.

Any fun recommendations for any other shade loving plants I could play with on that side of my house?

I live in zone 5.