10 February 2009

Something New & Yard Work

I did something I never thought I'd do. I ordered the DVD of the entire first season of a TV show, The Big Bang Theory. I really don't watch much TV, but I like this show. My goddaughter, who was then majoring in physics at Penn State, recommended it to me at about the second show, but we didn't get around to watching it until late last year. Now that we've discovered it, I had to have the first season. It's really a funny show.

Hard-science guys with little or no idea about social interactions; where I have seen that before? Why, could it be at UCLA, where I was an engineering student? Or at NASA Dryden, where I was an engineer for most of my career? Or both?

We're having the trees trimmed today and tomorrow. We have three big forty-year-plus fruitless mulberries and they have to be "laced" every couple of years to reduce the sail loading when the wind blows. We also have a Chinese pistache that's nearly as big and a beautiful liquidamber beside the driveway that needed a little trimming, nothing as drastic as the mulberries.

My pomegranate bush needed to be cut back severely, though, since it sets fruit on newer growth. It's down to about four trunks now, instead of a dozen. I only had about a dozen fruit on it last year, if that many. It may not produce much this year, but I should get a bumper crop the next year. If the school kids leave me enough, I'll juice them and make jelly. Messy, but gratifying. Making this jelly is a family tradition dating back almost fifty years. I cheat and use bottled pomegranate juice from the supermarket when I don't have fresh fruit available. I posted the recipe here earlier.

The junipers on the other side of the driveway had encroached quite fiercely and we cut them back about three feet, maybe more. They really look ugly now, but they'll grow back. We've created some nice humus under there, I noticed. I asked the trimmers to cut the ivy and Virginia creeper in the back yard back to the ground. Both had really gotten out of hand and were taking over. They're going to move my Madame Galen scarlet trumpet creeper around to the back yard so I can see it from the windows (which are almost all on the back of the house). I'm not really razing all the plant life at the house, although it may sound like it. I'm just tidying up stuff that has needed attention for a while. I'd kind of coasted on some of this but I suddenly got tired of the overgrown vines and the narrowed driveway and the clutter.

This is the same team that's going to transplant my big Mediterranean clumping fan palm from here in Lancaster to the front yard of our house in Palm Desert. We left a big space for it when we landscaped down there. It's outgrown the place I have it in here and needs to be moved somewhere. It was a gift from a very dear friend, a guy who went to college with my husband and worked at Dryden for many years. He has since died, so the palm is very dear to me.

Here's the Mediterranean clumping fan palm from the south. To give you an idea of its size, the block front of the raised bed is about 26". You can see some of the Virginia creeper on the left side of the photo, growing into the palm. These three photos were taken in September, which is why the creeper still has its leaves. Right now it's just a bundle of light brown stems and really ugly.

Here's a photo from the southeast, with the trunk of the Chinese pistache on the right side. You can see Virginia creeper on both sides. The stuff really spreads.

And this photo is from the north. The grass-like plant that you can see arching on the right is a volunteer clump of pampas grass. The neighbors on the other side of the wall had pampas grass against their side of the wall and it seeded freely. Pampas grass is nasty to deal with. It's very hard to kill and the leaves are exceeding sharp. It'll cut bare hands readily. This little clump is going away tomorrow, along with all that Virginia creeper you can see.

Gordo the Wonder Puppy has greatly enjoyed having the tree trimmers over. They are very obliging with pats and attention and have flapping pants cuffs to chase. He had to come into the house because I decided he was a bit of a tripping menace, chasing cuffs and boot laces. I think the crew was relieved to see him go. I would have been. It was really funny to see him take in the changes in the back yard after the team knocked off for the day. The ivy is down off the little metal shed in heaps and some of the privets have vanished.

Gordo went to the vet to have his blood levels of his epilepsy meds checked. He's up to 68 pounds, at 9.5 months. He's supposed to weigh about 75 pounds when he's fully grown, but I'm beginning to think he may be a little heavier. He'll still fit on my lap, as long as I have the hassock under my legs to extend my lap enough. He napped briefly on my lap this afternoon, having been worn out by all the excitement and getting up early. He's definitely still a puppy.

1 comment:

knittinwolf said...

My grandma makes pomegranite jelly...yummmy. We bought three of those trees this year...one day we'll have some fruit on them! We're still busy planting all our trees and fruit trees. Think we still have about 75 more to go...I think they keep making more!:)

So glad Gordo is feeling well!