Posted in Creatures, Progress

This and That–4 November 2018

Still been quite a wet fall, and we’re working around it as best we can.

I did manage to get the butterfly weed and great Solomon’s Seal planted the other week.  Sill have some butterfly weed seeds I’ve not yet decided where to plant yet.  I also started spreading some of the leaf mould as cover from the leaves we collected back in April.

I also removed most of the common milkweed seed pods the other day which were soaked through and through.  They’ve been drying since then, and I’ll gather the seeds soon.  Some had already opened despite not fully drying as they normally do, and the few I left on stalks are just my way of letting Nature choose where those might be spread.

That reminds me, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but we had picked up a box of “6 Coin” gummed envelopes from Staples a few weeks ago or so.  I’d rather have ones with the paper circle with the wrap around string closure, or even the foldable metal T piece so you can open and close them multiple times, but they didn’t have those in stock and I was running out of salvaged bill envelopes to use for seeds so I had to get something.  I almost bought the “1 Coin” for smaller seeds as well, but decided to wait until we could find the closure style I wanted because there were plenty of the larger size for the time being.  Next year I’ll see if I can source the kind with the metal fastener.  I can understand why the string and circle might not be available for either of these sizes because they are rather smallish, but I’m still going to look for them.  If I can’t find any, I’ll get the foldable metal T closure style if possible.

I’m using some of them for the common milkweed to put together give aways with a small info sheet for how to best plant them to leave at City Hall on the info table outside the Conservation Commission office.  I’m also going to offer them for free on our local neighborhood app, as I did the day lilies.

I finally managed to trim back the hollies flanking the front porch stairs before Halloween, and we are hoping to transplant those soon to the rear.  Poor things were not sited well, and had no where to grow, really, because they were planted so close to both porch and stairs.  I saved the cuttings, and am going to try to make two wreathes out of them for each side of our front porch this year.  I haven’t made any kind of a wreath in a very long time, so that will be interesting.  We still have some Oriental Bittersweet vines that haven’t yet broken down (they were mature, so woody and almost as thick as my pinky) that I may use as a base, because the volunteer grapes we transplanted haven’t had a chance to grow much yet to take vines from them.

Pulling this down alternated between fun and I am so done with this nonsense.
It was almost up to the crown.

Oriental Bittersweet is a fierce invasive here.  I found out from a friend in Connecticut that they’ve even started crossbreeding with a local bittersweet variety, but unfortunately the hybrid carries the invasive nature.  Birds spread them from eating their seeds.

The vines I mentioned are leftover from when we helped our elderly former neighbor last year by pulling them out of her conifers before she sold the house and moved.  If you look at the image to the left, the lighter green is the bittersweet, and you can see how far up the tree it had grown.  In the image below, that’s the growing pile of vines we were pulling down, and if you look closely you can see the main source trunk that had grown quite thick over the years.  We’re still not rid of it, as we forgot to de-berry what we pulled down (and put the berries in a weed baking container since we don’t hot compost), and this year there were all sorts of new ones.  Not a mistake we’ll ever make again, I can assure you!

Always deberry invasives like this before composting!
You can see the light brown vines reaching into the tree, and the pile of vines we had pulled down by that point near fallen branches we’d gathered during general yard cleanup.

Getting back to the hollies, we still haven’t decided exactly what to put in their stead, but the beds on both sides of the stairs have hostas that were also planted too close to the hollies, so perhaps now they will flourish better within the competition.  We’ll likely be moving them where you can see that plastic chain in the image above to act as a natural fence between properties.

We still have not yet moved the lilac bush, as we still have a lot of digging to do to extend the walkway from the side door steps to the front edge of the property.  I really want to get the walk way dug down this fall because it will be less height to be lifting snow when we shovel the drive this winter.  The driveway is carved between a slope up to our neighbor’s yard on the east, and our sloped front yard to the west.  It’s not fun trying to hike it up that few extra feet, even if it is exercise for one’s arms.

Speaking of snow clearing, one recent change is our town used to have a seasonal daily night parking ban.  This year the nightly street parking ban will only be in effect during storms, with an alert system residents can sign up for if they don’t want to check the city’s website or call City Hall to check.  For us, that won’t make a difference, really, but it’s good to see them trying out something that makes more sense.  A lot of homes in the downtown area have heavily shaded and sloped driveways, so forcing folks to park on what easily become icy hazards may help prevent some accidents this year by giving folks more options about when they can have the cars on the street to clear their own properties.  The first place we rented when we moved up here while we looked for our home had such a driveway, and the landlady was notorious for not clearing any snow, let alone ice the entire time we lived there.  We do not miss that driveway, and it also was one of the reasons I was against buying one particular home we had looked at during our search.  The driveway there was very short and steep going down into the garage.

There’s a few other things I want to write about soon, if time allows.   Hopefully part of that will be more progress on the side walkway.  Another will be a happy notice of the recent addition of two spirit cats.

I hope everyone’s fall cleanup is or continues to go well.

Care to share thoughts on this?