Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stairway to Heaven

 Ever since I put in my raised bed garden plots down the hill from the driveway, I have been imagining how nice it would be to have stone steps down that slope.
Last summer when nephew in law, Mark, was here and did some brick paver work for me, I bounced the idea around with him and he was up to the challenge.
This is the slope before we started work.

Once we decided the route to take with the steps, the hard work began.
Mark and Breanna and Vinny came to Rice Lake and spent Mother's Day working on our project.
Mark was on his own on this one, as I was still sporting a cast so had a perfect excuse to be an observer.
This is the beginning of the project.
Knee busting, back breaking work!  Yikes!
Mark is such a perfectionist and I am so pleased!
On Memorial Day, Krista and Mark came back to Rice Lake to finish the steps.
I was a little more help now since I am cast free, but I am still a weakling, so they did 99.9% of the work.
These step blocks weigh about 40-50 lbs each, Krista lifted them around like they were a big casserole!

Mark spent most of the day on his knees.  Ish!

The weather was iffy off and on all day.
We heard the storm siren ring in Rice Lake and we watched these clouds very closely.
In the end, we had a few sprinkles and nothing more serious,

Officially "The Stairway to Heaven"
The mound of dirt to the right is going to turn into a flower bed mound...eventually.

I like that, to manage the rise, we did a random spacing of width and height of the steps.

How to end up at the asphalt was a topic of much discussion and some angst.
In the end, we all agreed that this was an excellent solution.

Now I have no excuse for not taking care of my garden, it is an easy walk down and back up again.
It occurs to me that Mark spent 2 holidays working on these stairs...I know he didn't charge me overtime, I think I will be sure he has some cold beverages in his refrigerator for the summer heat!
Thanks Mark!
I  LVE  my new steps.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Remembering....& Red Tulips

Happy Memorial Day!
Take time to remember those near and dear to you, not only those who have passed but those who are here sharing Mother Earth.

The red tulips were later and taller than the yellow.  Everyday more and more of the yellow tulips are losing their petals, but the red ones are standing tall.  
Here are several photos I took a couple of days ago of these ruby tulips.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Occupational Therapy

My doctor told me that he would send me to occupational therapy if I couldn't get my wrist strength and range of motion back on my own.  I remember what that was like when I broke my right arm back in 1992.  I really did not enjoy that therapy back then, even though it produced the good results.  I am 1 week out of the cast and feeling pretty good.  So, I am going to try to do my own 'occupational therapy' for now by working in the yard.
Therapy Session #1:  Move all these landscape blocks to the area behind the garage, then set them into the sand.  Then add some bags of topsoil to the sandy dirt and cultivate.  Then plant squash & pumpkin plants.

Therapy Session #2:  Move landscape / step blocks from pallet near garage door to parking spot closer to the new 'steps to the garden' project.  Also, use hand snippers to clean up tall grass around yellow tulips.

Therapy Session #3:  Dig holes and plant day lilies.  Gary Erickson generously shared some day lilies out of his gardens and I am hoping that they perk up and line the driveway.
So far, my wrist feels pretty good.  It swells a little after a long day of lifting and working in the yard, but the swelling goes away overnight and my arm is getting stronger every day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More tulips

Just a quick update on the tulips.
The yellow ones are starting to finish, at least the ones that bloomed first.
The red ones are just perfect right now, amazing how much taller they are than the yellow.  Probably the variety I selected, but I admit I did not pay attention to that when I was picking them out of the catalog.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Big Moon and the Loon

On Saturday I met Glenn and Kathy at Big Moon to pick up some Pampered Chef items I had ordered from Krista.  The storm ended and sun came out just before I got there, so Glenn took the cover off the pontoon and the 3 of us went for a peaceful tour of the lake.
Much to my delight, a loon floated around us for about 10 minutes.  While he was mostly at the end of the range of my camera lens, I managed to get enough pictures to put them together in a little video.  The sounds are courtesy of the internet.

To watch the video on YouTube, click here.

Later on we came upon on an immature eagle perched in a tree.

As he flew away we all were amazed at his wing span.

 A mallard duck flew by.

And near a beaver lodge, we saw this huge oak tree that the beavers are working on.
It would be interesting to be around to see this activity.

What a nice outing on the lake.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

and more & more tulips

The rest of the tulips are starting to bloom now, and finally I see where I planted the red ones.

 Meanwhile, the yellow tulips continue to show off.  They really glow when the sun hits them just right.

I have been visited by so many different species of birds this spring.
the other day I was in the living room and it sounded like someone was on the deck saying "heeyyy" over and over.  It kind of spooked me.
Turned out it was this catbird.

The apple tree blossoms are starting to pop out.
I am hoping to get a few good apples this year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Cupboard is Bare

Now that I take in the hummingbird & oriole feeders at night, there are no snacks available on the back deck.
Mr Raccoon has come back both nights to check though, just in case I get careless I suppose.

He looks disappointed.

I would much rather have feather friends visiting the deck rather than those 4 legged bandits.
I am loving the trail cam, it is fun to download the pictures every morning and see what went on in the backyard while I was sleeping.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Case of the Disappearing Hummingbird Nectar

I recently bought a trail cam to capture the goings on in the backyard.
All last summer I had wished that I had one when the bears visited night after night but I only saw them once.
So, as luck would have it, just prior to receiving my trail cam, a mystery was developing on my back deck.
Every night the hummingbird feeder would have nectar in it, every morning it was bone dry.
Never was the feeder knocked off the pole and there was no evidence of the thief/thieves.
I was convinced that the villain had to be winged.
Last night I cracked the case.

Click here:
 to see the evidence.

I guess I have not watched enough CSI to be a very good detective.

Monday, May 16, 2011

200 Tulips

Last fall I planted 150 yellow tulips and 50 red tulip bulbs.  I split them between 3 locations and that work has really paid off.
I have already ordered a mess of daffodils to add to the few that bloomed in the backyard this year.
Many Facebook friends have commented that the deer have nibbled off their tulips.  It is an oddity to live in rural Wisconsin and have no deer visitors to my yard, but in light of their affinity for eating tulips and other garden items, I am just as glad.
So, here are some highlights of my tulips and some of my flowering trees as well.
The first location for tulips, is along the West side of the driveway.

The second location is a round flower bed just at the top of the steps to the backyard.

And the last planting was along the back of a raised area between the house and garage.
This area needs a make over.  It is covered in rock which I plan to take off this summer, and then I hope to plant perennials so that this area is a little showy.
Planting the tulips at the back border of this area was step one (and the easiest).
There were 50 tulips in the mix that were supposed to be red, I think they must have all ended up in this area.
This is a more shaded area, so these bulbs are a little behind the others.

At least there will be one red tulip it seems.
When I chose all these yellow bulbs, I didn't really think about how yellow my yard is naturally.  I grow a fabulous crop of dandelions each year and they are almost distracting from the tulips, it might be time for some weed and feed.

On Sunday afternoon I took a walk around the yard and checked out the progress of some of the trees.
The big apple tree is about to pop out blossoms.
I am going to spray this year to see if I can get rid of the worms in the apples.

The smaller of the two trees is also getting ready to bloom, it is a little behind the other.

My maple trees are about done dumping their spring flowers and are starting to make leaves!

I have a couple of these trees, they might be a wild plum, not sure, but the delicate flowers are very pretty.
I think it is Spring, but the temperature dropped to 32 last night.  All my plants look okay, I got lucky.
Today is the last day (#53) of cast captivity.  
Tomorrow they will take off the cast and give me a removable splint to use so that I can shower and sleep with less hassle, YAY!


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