Tuesday, May 26, 2009

He's Ba-a-ack

The gnome's roam is over. I am getting things put back in some order. This lot is about 2/3 of the filled container inventory. Not sure it will all fit. Now that I've finished the staining job, I really don't want to put anything back on the porch!

Weather today was upper 60s with a high clouds. Pleasant.

Monday, May 25, 2009

This holiday weekend has been perfect weather-wise! In the 70s, and light breezes. Friday, Sat and Sunday. I haven't quite put the container display together yet. But, I have added to the container inventory. And I have 2 wooden crates that I stained same color as back porch; will use them for risers to get some of the up above the others.

Tamra gave me a cedar planter that she made with her Tomboy Tools, back at Christmas time. She says just put the dirt in and plant. The last of the sunflowers were looking might peak-ed today, so they were destined for the new planter. I added some creeping zinnias, and a couple of blanket flowers. I am hoping everything will work together. It is hard to imagine these sunflowers in their full growth.

When I bought the flowers for the cedar planter, well, you can't just walk out of the nursery with 3 plants in hand. I ended up with enough odds and ends to create a planter with a light pink, and green concept. I'm not so sure I like the big square planters I bought on sale. They seem to need a shrub or something. The flowers look so small in them right now.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blue Flag

Dead my old fine hopes
And dry my dreaming
But still…
Iris, blue each spring.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Red Barn

The truth is that when I used the deck cleaner last weekend, I didn't realize that it would take the old stain off to the extent it did. I thought I would simply refresh the porch and slather on new stain. Using the pressure washer, some of the grain raised, too.

In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say: Today, sanded the porch and blew off the dust, and then applied the stain - Sherwin-Williams deck stain "Red Barn." I like that it matches my windowsill trim.
An epsom salt soak is a good follow up to this experience.

Tomorrow I hope to re-establish the display of containers that have been awaiting their return to a place of prominence in the back yard.

Weather today - Low 70s; sunny; light breeze.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Preparing The Stage

The Gnome Home is temporarily disrupted to do a cleaning of patio, and porch in preparation for this year's display of containers.

Before and after the pressure washing. Next weekend the porch will be stained. I have to get a dark stain, partly to cover up the blemishes, and match the stain that didn't wash off.
After that's done, the stage will be set with the full array of containers, including the one with strawberries.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ponderosa Pine Flower

I was looking out my kitchen window at the solitary Ponderosa Pine, and thought I was seeing starfish in the branches! Red and purple pine cones! After 30 years of looking out my window at this tree, this is the first year I have noticed this event - the Ponderosa Pine is flowering.

Research reveals "... Flowering generally begins in early May. Each tree produces both male and female flowers. The yellow male flowers release huge volumes of yellow pollen on warm days from late May to early June. After pollination the magenta female flowers like this one develop into seed-bearing cones that reach full size of 3 to 6 inches by August of the next year.Cone crops are borne every 2 to 3 years; heavy crops are usually 4 to 5 years apart. Cones begin to open in early September and seed is shed until November..."
Checking further, I found these 20 uses for Ponderose Pine from Native American traditions (not my pine tree here, but a pretty picture of one):

1. Pitch used to hold the hair in place.
2. Gum used as a salve or ointment for sores and scabby skin.
3. Poultice of pitch and melted animal tallow or lard used for backache.
4. Poultice of pitch and melted animal tallow or lard used for rheumatism.
5. Boughs used in sweat lodges for muscular pain.
6. Needles jabbed into the scalp for dandruff.
7. Compound decoction of needles taken for bad coughs and fever.
8. Infusion of dried buds used as an eyewash.
9. Decoction of plant tops taken for high fevers.
10. Good medicine for the stomach.
11. Decoction of gum used as an ointment for sore eyes.
12. Poultice of warmed gum applied to the ear for earache.
13. Pitch chewed as a gum.
14. Sweet layer between bark and sap wood scraped and used for food.
15. Pitch used to cement feathers onto arrow shafts.
16. Melted pitch used to waterproof the outside of water jugs woven of willow.
17. Needles used to line food caches and cellars.
18. Bark used as fuel because it cooled quickly and enemies cannot tell how long ago camp was broken.
19. Pitch used to make torches.
20. Gum placed inside whistles and flutes to improve their sounds.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day

First day of May and it got into the low 70s today! Partly cloudy.

I came home to discover that the comfrey is up and putting on blossoms. It grows voluntarily now in places it was never planted (used to be in an herb garden long since gone). Also known as knitbone or boneset for its healing properties.

They say "...comfrey leaves are of much value as an external remedy, both in the form of fomentations, for sprains, swellings and bruises, and as a poultice, to severe cuts. The whole plant, beaten to a cataplasm and applied hot as a poultice, has always been deemed excellent for soothing pain in any tender, inflamed or suppurating part. It is useful in any kind of inflammatory swelling."

The squirrel was stationed above the comfrey in the walnut tree diligently chomping on a nut. Found this on internet: "Squirrels do fall, but they use their tail as a parachute and when they land their tail is used as a cushion. They rarely get hurt from a short fall. But they can sustain broken bones, or severe spinal injuries from a awkward landing."

He would land in the right spot - a comfrey patch!