Monday, August 30, 2010

Ain't It the Truth

     Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets,  milkweeds  and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

     It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

     Grass? But, it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It's sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

     Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

     The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

     Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.

     They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
     Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

     They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

     No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

     Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

     Yes, Sir.

     These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
     You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

     What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It's a natural cycle of life.
     You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

     No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

     After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

     And where do they get this mulch?

     They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

     Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
     'Dumb and Dumber', Lord. It's a story about....

     Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Plants Rabbits Won't Eat

From the good people at Sunset Magazine.  I'm only planting these plants in my garden.  Here's the link:

Rabbit Hated Plants

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Really? Brain?

Walking out to lunch yesterday, and the delivery truck with our Company's bottled water delivery is out front.  I notice a massive puddle of water on one side.  Walking around, I see the driver standing with three large (the give 5 gallon water cooler type) bottles on their sides letting the water drain.  He looks at me and says, "cracked".  I'm guessing the bottles, although I could have just as easily guessed his brain.  Keep in mind, he is doing this three feet from the bank of plants alongside the building.  The exchange went something like this:

Him:  Cracked.
Me:  Don't you think it might be a little less wasteful to poor them into the plants right there, rather then down the parking lot?
Him:  Can't.
Me:  Why?
Him:  Against company policy.
Me:  Your company is against watering plants?
Him:  If the plants die, it would be our fault.
Me:  What's in your water that would cause the plants to die?
Him:  Nothing.
Me:  Then why not water them?
Him:  Oh.  All done.  Have a nice day.

This is why I need to be allowed to drink while at work.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Not that.  Stop it.  Quick post tonight, as we have family visiting.  I think the onions are ready.  As you may notice, there are a few less.  Certain seven year olds have the patience of...something that has no patience.

I think they're ready.  Maybe another couple of days.  I'm going to chop them up and throw them in with a roast this week.  Yum.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I figured it's about time to post some pictures of our Yosemite trip.  Not too many, mind you.  And, after a long weekend of painting, water parks with the Cub Scouts, gopher hunting (still haven't killed that little critter), car maintenance and the like, I'm just too darned tired to be witty.

Lower Yosemite Falls (don't take the pictures mid-day...make a note)

Half Dome, from a distance

Do Bears really shit in the woods?  Yes, they do.

Rafting on Lake Tenaya.  That's my sons raft in the lower left corner.

Deer that came wandering through camp.

Ahwahnee Hotel.  From my seat.  At the bar.  No need to live like heathens.

Kiki and dad playing in the Merced River.

My son and his uncle, heading downriver. 

That's all for now.  Say goodnight, Gracie.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Where is the Damn Summer?????????

That's the hill behind our house.  What hill, you ask?  The hill that's covered in God damn fog that's what hill!  It's suppose to be 75 F when I wake up in the morning in August and then hit 105 F in the afternoon when I'm inside an air conditioned building.  Instead, it's 55 F when I wake up and barely passes 80 F!  My tomatoes hate this crap and I took the top off my truck and freeze to death because of it!!!!  Alright.  I think I posted something with enough exclamation points.  Everybody back to sleep.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Brilliant Idea and a Gopher Update

Well, gopher first.  The little bastard has briefly outsmarted me.  It set dummy holes along the back planter, which were about three feet above the holes I pictured Monday.  I set my trap, only to get squat.  Removing the trap, I put my hand in the tunnel and realized it was filled two inches further down.  The best I can figure is the little bastard comes straight up, then the hole fills over the evening.  Looking at new mounds revealed no tunnels.  I decided to smooth everything out and wait for tomorrow to see if there are any new mounds.  You have won this minor skirmish, my adversary, but I will win the war!!  Woo-ha-ha-ha.......

Now, to my brilliant idea.  I have spoke before about our wisteria.  Well, my wife and I (not the kids, they couldn't care less) realized that the post I set up for the wisteria to grow up was going to create a problem.

Yes, there as a 2x2 post in there.  We realized once the wisteria grew, that it would be impossible to get the post out, since the wisteria had wrapped itself around it like a stripper in a Las Vegas club.  Not that I would know anything about that.

We decided it would be best to pull the post out (too many visuals regarding Vegas) and tie the wisteria to it, rather then allow it to wrap itself around it.  That way as the trunk thickens (this just keeps getting better) we can remove the post and the plant should stand on its own, as it did before we tried to kill it.  So, after the obligatory pints (Killian's Irish Red, if you must know), I decided to attack the stripper plant.

Surprisingly, the post slipped out easily.  Stop it.  I mean it.  Stop.  This is the now limp plant next to the hard rod.  I used a couple pieces of that green stretchy garden stuff that I'm sure has a name, but I'll refer to as the rubber.  Tied the plant off in a couple of places and propped it back up.

Erecting the limp plant on the post put it right back where it was, and was obviously most happy.  But, then who wouldn't be.

In the winter the wisteria will go dormant (at least it does here, and I'm hoping that's normal), and we'll cut it back to one or two trunks.  In the meantime, off to the showers.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We're Back! To gophers! Sons of...

Yes, I know, you didn't know we were gone.  But, we were.  We went to one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, Yosemite Valley.  Six nights, seven days.  I think that was a movie, but Harrison Ford was no where near us.  Which is good, because that waif he's married to wouldn't have survived, and I'm sure at some point we would have been forced to eat her.  Anyway, that's a different post, once I get all the pictures together.

This one is about what we returned to.  A damn gopher.

Two holes up against a rock wall.  This is one of the difficult one's as it is at multiple levels, so my favorite flooding method does not work.  I think this one is the cousin of the last one I offed, so he's learned.  I think there is some Gopher Tribune around that gives away all my best stuff.

So, I laid the gopher trap this evening.

That would be the instrument of death.  Yes, we kill them.  Then, we cut their little heads off and put them on a stake that says, "Abandon All Faith, All Ye Who Enter Here."

Now, the question I first had is how in the name of God do I use the trap.  It's quite the contraption after all.  I'll leave it to you to figure out how to set it.  Don't let it close on your hand.  I'm sure it would hurt like hell.

First off, dig into a freshly created hole.  In this case, I got lucky and got a hole that was the end of the line, meaning I only need one trap.  If it's a pass through and there is a tunnel on two sides of the hole, then you'll need two traps, one for each direction.  Set the trap without puncturing your own hand and place right at the gopher hole entrance.

I attach a wire to the trap, because sometimes the little vermin backs into the hole after being caught.  This way, it can be dragged back out, again.

After setting the trap, cover the hole with something, in this case we used a piece of plywood.

Be sure to cover the edges so as to keep any light out of the hole.  Now...wait.  Tomorrow, I'm sure the trap will be sprung without a gopher attached and the hole completely filled to the bottom of the plywood.  That's how they mock me.  Little bastards.