Too Many Projects – A Wordy Photo Post

Fall is in the air a full month early!  That’s welcomed since we’ve had temps at least in the 90’s since March.

The hummingbirds are doing their thing on the back porch in usual style, one or two at a time.  The numbers are still not great enough for the guarding males to give up fighting to dominate their feeder.  Soon enough.  Pardon the hand-held camera shot.  I just don’t can’t bother with a tri-pod set up with my time constraints.

Still Only 1-2 Ruby-Throats at a Time

While I was standing there, Mr. Cardinal came up for some black sunflower seed off the porch feeder.  He chirps at me something fierce, but he’s brazen enough to come within a few feet and stare me down.

Male Cardinal Says Good Morning

The torpedo grass nemesis is finally gone!  When I got home from the tennis match last Monday, half of the infested bed had been excavated down roughly 18 inches – yes, a foot and a half.  That’s how deep the root system was in that beast of a grass.  In all, 10 cubic yards of soil was removed, two trailers-full, with the same amount of new soil coming in to replace it.

Not willing to accept anything must be thrown away or hauled off, I asked the foreman if I could have it deposited somewhere else on my property.  He raised his eyebrow, looked disapprovingly at me and then pointed to the infected dirt in the trailer, saying something in Spanglish.  You no want yuck grass.  No bueno.  He was right.  It was completely overtaken with torpedo grass roots and fragment.  His point made – and the visual to cinch – it lead me a difficult choice.  Haul it off.  And good riddance.

Any landscaping plants in the area went too, including eight Knock-out roses, two holly trees, and some indian hawthorne shrubs.  The roots of these plants were also deeply inundated with grass runners, there was nothing I could do.  They all had to go.

The upside?  We can actually see the front door from the street now!  And I can watch for the kids’ bus from the comfort of the front porch shade.  In order to make the bed more manageable for me, and to improve drainage away from the house, I had him add a good bit of sod over a large portion of the area.

Check.  Check.

Next is fall landscaping and front door beautification.  But that’s for another day, perhaps next year’s budget (this one is wiped!).

And at least the HOA is happy that I took care of the shoulder-high grass in the front flower bed.  All it took was hundreds of dollars of man-labor to get it right.  Ouch.

Looks Much Better, Yes?
Torpedo Grass – the Big Loser, Finally.

Back in 2001, the original owners planted what were most likely very small oleander shrubs (each of which need an impressive 10 feet of space to sprawl).  They were planted only two feet apart, six inches off the fence – really, really bad planning.  It made for some pretty ugly, leggy plants with the beautiful flower stalks sitting 15 feet high at the very top of these thick sticks.

We hand pruned and otherwise “managed” these plants into a more desired bushy effect, several times, over several years to no avail.  Hardly the privacy hedge it was intended to be, the new neighbors and I regularly talk “through” the thick sticks and discuss what to do with the thicket.

No more!  I like having a real neighbor to talk to.  It was a good enough excuse to rip them up. Some roping cowboys from Wharton came in to do the ax-and-shovel work for me – it took them all day, and another good portion of my garden budget.  But at least it’s done.

A Crew Gets Hired to Remove Oleanders
(Photo credit: Wikipedia.org)
Espalier Fruit Orchard

I don’t like pulling any live plant up (except for invasive grass species), so coming to the conclusion that 43 oleanders also needed to be pulled and hauled off was a hard one (even harder than the cost of man labor), and since oleander is toxic, it could not be reused on my property.  Another haul-away which is difficult for me.

It helped a little that I’m itching to release the 150 feet of bed area for an espalier fruit orchard.  I am very excited to get started on the post-and-wire frame fencing!  We’ll do that now when it’s cool and plant the fruit trees in the spring for their “training.”

More plums, pears, and peaches I suppose, and if I can find a Texas green apple variety, I will try that too.  We lost our last lone apple tree in the drought last year from the original eight (which also died on my watch); I like to think it was the wrong variety versus my neglect (like the roses which I actually enjoy abusing).

Check, and check again.

And the two new lasagna beds are ready for planting as well!  Time to get to it now that the weather is getting cooler.  It’s supposed to get down the 50’s tonight.  That’s downright chilly.  I’m ready.

Two More Lasagna Beds to Plant
The New Garden Area Expanding Quickly!

On a kids note, today is picture day at school.  They can’t wear green (at least one of my children’s favorite color) due to the use of digital technology and the “green screen” background.  Hm.  Will see how that turns out.  I love getting school pictures of the kids every year, as goofy as they tend to be.  Maybe one day, they can enter in one of Angie’s photo contests like their mom did.  I can already see several that will fit the bill – worth the $$.

A few more shots from the garden and driveway.

This Red Rose Lives to Spite Me.
I Love Pink! Pentas for the Butterflies in the Rose Garden
Hey! What are You Doing Here?

Later, alligators.  I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me and it’s already past 8:00a.

And hey!  I have some new followers, so this may be your first post from me.

Really glad to have all of you here sharing my crazy, dirty life.  See you in a week.

36 thoughts on “Too Many Projects – A Wordy Photo Post

    1. Ain’t he cute? It’s rare the youngun’s come up to the house, away from the sanctuary of the creek. He was pecking around my garden a bit – must have found some buggies to snack on.

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  1. Your landscaping looks beautiful! And I love the shot of the hummingbird. One buzzed up like a hovercraft to check out the hanging basket of flowers outside my screen porch the other day, and I was mesmerized, as always.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Peg.  You would love our back porch now!   I regularly sit out and just laugh at them.  We are back to large numbers, “swarms” of them, though nothing like what we were seeing this time last year.  I’m hoping to get out this morning with my camera and tripod to get some better shots than the one on this post.

      As for landscaping, this torpedo grass has been my nemesis for over 6 years.  Really persistent stuff.  Any landscaping cost (a/k/a/ prettying) would be for naught without removing this invasive grass first.  I’m hoping to plant the beds in the next couple of weeks.  Hooray!!  The fruit orchard will come next spring.

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  2. You sure manage to get a lot done – good inspiration for me, as I sit down to a very full day of working on things 222. Fortunately I finally found a nice little guest house in the burbs of KL – so no more hotels when I’m here. No distractions. Good Internet connection. Birds chirping all around.

    Check. Check. Check.

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    1. Hey! Love it. Speaking of birds, I just put the finishing touches on my “Birding” list, that is all the birds that I’ve seen so far. I had some real winners on there from Malaysia too, which you’ll appreciate: common myna, magpie, stellar’s sea eagle, black-naped oriole, even a rhinocerous hornbill. I was amazed that my list was as long as it was!

      Sneak peek into the next post: took a snapshot this week of my 100th bird and am putting the finishing touches on (get this) my 100th post. Tee hee. Could it BE any better?

      PS – “good internet.” A must! I can live without a phone or texting, but life would be difficult without maps, info-at-my-fingertips, and blogging.

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      1. Yeah, the Internet connection is a definite must. I’m working on my October talk, so need ready access to some of my favorite resources.

        Wow – 100. Prolific. And 100 birds to boot. Not sure how long my birding list is (less than 100, I am guessing), but happily hornbills are on the list. Such colourful creatures, and it’s not hard to see that they’re the descendants of dinosaurs … colourful dinosaurs. I particularly liked this cheeky one caught stealing a bit of squid sambal: http://goo.gl/u8x94

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      2. Oh. My. Gosh. That is a most brilliant photo!! Thank you so much for sharing that.

        The only capture I have of a hornbill was at Pangkor Laut on 8mm video TAPE. *sigh* It was my only project for 2011 (digitizing all my tapes), and alas, it’s taken the back-burner again. It may never see the light of day. I must steal, er, uh, SHARE yours.

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      3. I always carry my trusty Nikon whenever there’s any chance I’ll see anything of interest, which pretty much means any time I head our in this part of the world. Early on I saw so many wonderful things I couldn’t capture properly, and that only live in my memory – which is a shame.

        And always feel free to share anything I share…

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      4. Aw, you’re a Nikon user. My Olympus manual says we not supposed to be friends. There’s a whole chapter on it. They made me read it and pinky-swear. I knew this day would come. And I was really beginning to like you too…

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  3. Boy you’ve been busy! It’s hard for be to dig up living plants as well, or to put something in the trash instead of the compost. One of those lessons I make myself relearn over and over. Good on you for letting go of that much bad dirt.

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    1. Some people go to the gym, I go to the yard. It’s cheaper, has fewer crowds, and I get a little Vit D to boot.

      I exhaust me too. Starting to trail off a bit with Fall Open House now behind me. Time to start planning for birthday (Sept, Dec) and holiday (Oct, Nov, Dec) parties. Never-ending mama stuff.

      Believe it or now, I have said “no” a lot these days. There’s only so much time in my day and volunteer activities can fill up literally every second if I let it.

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  4. I like what you’re doing to the place. 🙂 Great post and pictures. I love the rose blossom and the Juvie Yellow-crowned Night Heron. We’re off to the the Big Bend on Sunday morning. Wish you could come, too. 🙂

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    1. Olympus E-330 (DSLR), 2004 model. I just love it. Normally crisp .JPG shots (camera-processed) since I don’t have the extra time to sit down and edit with software. With this one, the shutter speed wasn’t quite fast enough.

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      1. Fancy! I have a Sony Cyber Shot and my iPhone! I haven’t researched “real” cameras yet, because I feel like it would turn into a huge hobby which I don’t have time for.

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      2. I started out in the late 90’s with a fully manual Canon 35mm and a few lenses. It was what I was used to, so when the digital SLR’s came out, I was all over them! Olympus “let’s me drive.” Also has some decent settings when I don’t want to think so much.

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  5. Are you kidding me? That photo of the hummingbird is amazing.

    Also, can I move in with you?

    I can’t believe it’s almost school picture day. What is the deal with time? Always going forward like that, very unnerving.

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    1. Aw, thanks! They are very reluctant to come to the feeder with me standing right there (5 feet from it). When the groups roll in, I can come closer in to get better shots.

      Time is not my friend. I really wish it would slow down just a tiny bit. As much as you, I think.

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