Friday, February 26, 2010

Using What I've Learned

I spent this afternoon upgrading the irrigation system.  A contractor's special,  the entire 1.3 acre lot hosts a single very long supply line governed by one timer.  In practical terms, this means that every plant which is irrigated by this system is watered for the same amount of time.  This makes organizing a xeriscape somewhat of a challenge.

Xeriscape, as I remind TBG every now and again when he sees me adding water to the desert, does not mean zero-scape.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Olympics

The bobsledding competition is really not much more interesting than it was before.  The women's sleds are pretty and the Germans had decorated theirs, but then again Julia Mancuso's helmet has decals giving the illusion that she's wearing a crown, so maybe it's just this year's Olympic chic.  Who knows?  Not I.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back in the Garden

We have a narrow window of opportunity here in the desert Southwest.  Six weeks usually elapse between the end of winter (the last frost) and the start of the summer's heat.  In that time, plants can be planted and irrigated and fertilized and gotten off to their very best start, before the unrelenting sun wreaks its magic havoc on the flora and turns the soil into hardpan.

So, let me share some of what's been going on in my yard.

clockwise from bottom left: poinsettia, golden mexican bird of paradise, gopher plant, heavenly bamboo
or,  in other words, Euphorbia pulcherrima, caesalpinia pulcherrima, euphorbia rigida nandina domestica,

As those of you who keep up with the sidebar are aware, I have been back and forth between pillar and post pawing at the ground and procrastinating like crazy while thinking a lot about the irrigation system in my yard.  Deciding that tackling the entire project all at once was creating this neurasthenia,  I retrenched and regrouped and reorganized and rethought and when I ran out of re's to do and could put it off no longer I began to work on that raised bed.

You are seeing the after photo.  I am too embarrassed to share the before shot, which demonstrated that the four walls and corner pieces create a handy dandy storage space for all the stuff I took out of the yard during the winter.  Plastic and steel and bronze and roots and moss and stakes and poles and ties and it was a mess.  Now, all that detritus is in a plastic storage container in the potting shed (aka the golf cart garage... but we don't play golf so I claimed it as my own) but at least it's out of sight.   I've always admired gardeners who could put everything away every time .... I am definitely not of their ilk.

Once the space was clear, I pulled up the tubing and checked for leaks.  There were none, but an emitter was missing and water was gushing from a flailing piece of 1/4" tubing and I was wet.  And laughing.  Most definitely, I was laughing. 

Learning from past failures, I decided to plant the cuttings I was rooting in plastic nursery pots into the raised bed itself.  Yes, pots and all.  You can see their edges in the photo.  I know  that I cannot rely on myself to be a consistent caregiver; I'm easily distracted and often forgetful and the smaller pots really suffer in this climate if they are ignored, or even just slighted, in the heat of June and July.

With the timer, though, I can rest comfortably knowing that, with fresh batteries installed, Tucson Metro Water and I will help these babies grow to be big and strong enough to survive in the yard itself.  I was able to place the drip tubing (which emits 1 gallon per hour through a one-every-18-inches-laser-cut-holes) so that each pot had its own personal private source of hydration.

If only I had manage to disentangle myself from the construction without separating the timer from its connecting sleeve, severing the plastic in a final and irreparable way.


As the Cuters can tell you, there is no help for broken plastic.  When presented with a trampled truck, the second question, after "Can Daddooooo fix this???" was always "Is it plastic?"  Because, as they well knew, Daddooooo could fix anything, except plastic.

It's a good thing that it rained today; I have a couple of days to replace the timer.

Our yard 's irrigation system is a contractor's special. One emitter at the trunk of every tree, and the whole thing is on one timer.  This makes it very hard to garden xeriscape-ly (hmmm.. I'm making up words again.)

The premise of xeriscape is the efficient use of the water resources available.  Rainwater harvesting is part of it, and I'm happy to report that the berming I did in the courtyard

created an entirely new pathway for the water falling from the downspout onto the rip-rap (the rocks.... yes, they have a name.... ) to travel.  Instead of seeping underneath the walkway, it moves towards the Siberian Iris which came with me from California and have been been languishing in their rocky home until the berm.  Now just look at them, happy and green and smiley in the middle of the stream.

I love it when a plan comes together.
SIR was quite surprised to discover that the desert is really quite green.  "Taupe.  I thought it would be taupe"  (and I do love a boy who knows taupe when he sees it!). And there isn't just one green, either.

They're both green.... but what greens!
You sidebar readers may also remember that I was spraying Roundup on the weeds and trying to decide what would be a weed and what would be a wildflower.  RoundUp is just glyphosate, and Master Gardeners here and in Marin recommend its use.  It's simple, easy, and if you don't want to put down a pre-emergent it's the way to go.  And I didn't want to put down a pre-emergent because I want to decide for myself.  

Plant identification is not my long suit.  It took my botanist/hiking buddy nearly a year to teach me to pick out poison oak.... and you'd think I would be motivated to learn that one, at least.  But even if I were Mary Rose Duffield, it's hard to predict what the leaves will be when they grow up.  Last year, much to my own amazement, I guessed that these
would turn out to be flowers.  And I was right.  With no help from me, they are back in the yard again this year.  I promise to take pictures of them when they turn into bright blue stalks of flowering loveliness.  For now, I keep telling TBG that they are NOT WEEDS and do not need to be sprayed.
Lest you think that my gardening experience is all pain and no gain, I will leave you with these two examples of my success.  Understand, please, that this is all trial and error. I bought a magnolia tree that lasted exactly 72 hours under the portico before it transpired its last ounce of oxygen and collapsed in a defeated heap in the pot. Somehow, for no reason that I can give you, the stock

and the hibiscus

are doing quite nicely, thank you.

This post goes out to all of you gardeners who are looking at a landscape of snow. 
Laura, Phyllis, Artess..... I feel your pain

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Best Really Are Better

It was G'ma's 87th birthday on Friday, so my surveillance of these Winter Games for you,  devoted readership, was somewhat curtailed.  Still, I don't feel like I missed that much.  Ice Dancing is just not watchable (sorry, Nance).  I was unable to get through a single performance while sitting still.  How this is considered a sport worthy of Olympic inclusion and Women's Softball is not remains an unsolved mystery.

There were some wonderful moments, though: 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Good Walk

Speaking of sports, as I've been doing this week,  today I went to the PGA's Accenture Match Play Opening Round at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain just north of Tucson in Marana.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Work Ethic

The Olympic Curlers (not hair rollers, but athletes who play shuffleboard on ice, kinda/sorta) have no professional organization because there are no professional curlers.  They all have full-time jobs, and some of them are mothers who have full-time jobs outside the home, too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm On the Job

Poor Nance.  Poor Amster.  They have no cable.  Without rabbit ears, NBC and the Olympics are a mere whisper in the ether.... a packet of pixels without a resting spot in their abodes.  And so, for them, faithful denizens of the Burrow that they are, I continue my Olympic prattling.

I was feeling somewhat unfair to Canada in yesterday's post, so I didn't include this tidbit.  But here it is on the little yellow legal pad which sat by my side during the Opening Ceremony

and here is that random post picture... and it all will soon make sense

so I suppose it's meant to be told. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Bonus Post

Here is a sure-fire way to increase your blog's readership:
  1. Set up an account on Google's Buzz
  2. Link your blog to your Buzz account so that your entire contact list can be notified when you have a new post.
  3. Upload a picture to your blog from Picasa, and forget to click save as draft. 
  4. Recognize your mistake, and, within seconds, change the post from publish to save as draft.
  5. Receive with horror a phone call from your son asking you why you had sent him a BUZZ entitled penis with hands?
  6. Realize that every person who follows you on BUZZ and every person who follows your blog has just received the same notice.
  7. Wonder whether to laugh or to cry......decide to go with the flow and
  8. Write this post and wait.
  9. Be sure to tell the readers that the answer will be revealed in Tuesday's post.
  10. Enjoy the immediacy of the medium.... which is a nicer way of saying enjoy the opportunity to make a fool of yourself at a moment's notice.

Olympic Musings

And let's stop right here for our first digression.  Mnemosyne (whose name translates as Memory) was the mother of the Muses.  Though the Big Cuter decries it, the touchy-feely, personal histories which accompany the events themselves are part and parcel of the Olympic Games.  I can understand his desire to see the best and only the best,  but the Games are so much more than that.  They are a quadrennial gathering of like-minded enthusiasts,
whose posses include orange clad fans in ridiculous headgear  

(thanks to for the photo). 

as well as proudly beaming parental units, who are finally able to reap the rewards of years of schlepping little Shani or Lindsey or Hannah to 5am practises.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where Did The Truth Go?

I've been thinking about "the truth" lately.  My rant on reporters started it, then Buffett and Paulson fanned the flames, then Karoli got into the act and before I knew it a full fledged conversation was going on in my head.

R. D. Laing's existential expostulation that your experience of me depends on my experience of you and is dependent upon my experience of myself and it goes on and on and on like this to the point of driving an otherwise sane TBG to flinging the book across his bedroom with a shriek..... but all that aside, the man had a point.  The Big Cuter is fond of reminding me that I only exist as a figment of his imagination, so my tirades and nagging and other despicable behaviors are similarly unreal and therefore able to be ignored.   

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On the Financial Meltdown and Liberals

Do you ever click through to the other blogs that BlogHer, purveyor of my oh-so-tasteful-but-nevertheless-annoying-advertising, lists on the sidebar under More from BlogHer? There are some wonderful writers out there in the blogosphere, and all it takes is a click to bring you directly to them.

Karoli, who writes at odd time signatures, waxes eloquently

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Those Annyoing Little Stickers

Little things have a habit of being waaay more annoying than their size would indicate.

(Anyone currently making "short people" jokes --- and you know who you are, Big Cuter --- can stop it right now.)

This was brought into specific relief by Jenny, whose eloquent rant on the rudeness of renters (complete with photographs) included a mention of those little round identification stickers which have been appearing on fruit since the early 2000's.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Watch the Super Bowl with Me?

This was a good football game. Usually the game piece of the Super Bowl experience is a snore-fest, but this was a good football game. If you don't care about the football piece, know that there was a 1-point difference at the end of the 3rd quarter, and the under-dog New Orleans Saints, who had never appeared in a Super Bowl before tonight, defeated Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts with surprising ease. (You can now skip down 5 paragraphs to the disquisition on the commercials -- the real reason most of us watched the game, anyway, as you'll see.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Random Ramblings

TBG and I may be the only people on the planet who don't know any of the characters, plot lines or questions (there are questions??) surrounding Lost. Somehow, I'm okay with that. The cultural zeitgeist will just have to trundle along without me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Watching the XGames

And right away I'm in trouble because I'm not sure how to spell it. No, that's not exactly it, either. I know the letters and the order in which they go, but I'm not sure where the capitals should be.

Monday, February 1, 2010