May 23 , 2010

Warm weather has finally returned to Rainbow and all of the summer growers are coming out of hibernation. We've been battling the weeds all spring and in some areas, like the outdoor benches below, our persistance shows results. In other areas however (not pictured), the weeds continue to have their way. With the spring rains now presumably past, we are hopeful that the tide of battle has turned in our favor.

Spring also brought Petra her first opportunity to put down seed that she has been harvesting and accumulating for years. Already, some rare tylecoden seed that she planted a couple of months ago has come up, yielding a lot of baby plants that she needed to find space for. We set up this temporary "kindergarten" in the adjacent lot behind the duplex (we'll call this area the "annex"), but with the expected deluge coming, this will doubtless soon be overwhelmed.

With that prospect in mind, we purchased this 72' x24' structure (pictured below) from our neighbor, along with a 36' x 60' shade structure (not shown because it's already been dismantled). This derelict is what remains of a nursery venture that he started and abandoned about 5 years ago. Not only did we get the whole thing at a good price, we got rid of an eyesore in our pastoral view to the east! That's our property in the background and the new structure will be erected on the annex behind those three nut trees all in a row.

As of this date, site work to accomodate the new structure is already well advanced. We reconfigured the water line to terminate inside the perimeter. Paul the chipper came in, removed several small volunteer trees and chipped them to mulch along with a large pile of organic waste that had accumulated on the site. Next Bill the grader artfully leveled out a pad over the leach field that underlies this whole area. My own crew then concreted in the ground posts that will support the structure. Next weekend we'll begin dismantling and re-erecting the rafters and purlins.

Elsewhere, both doors to the greenhouse are finished, each with a line of concreted-in pavers set down across the jamb. Well-placed holes in this jamb allow us to secure the doors in several positions and brace them against occasional gusts of wind.

On the landscaping front, Petra has set down a couple of new beds above the outdoor pad facing the entryway. This is where she had always envisioned her prized curroris growing and now that's a reality. Moving 350# and 200# plants was no easy task, but it was accomplished without damage, thank god. Her biggest beauty is already starting to leaf-out for the summer. Grow, babies, grow!

The previously established bed above the new ones is doing fine. The aloes, in particular, appear to be happy in their new home. Rusty, who's now 5 months old, stands guard, ever vigilant against... rabbits! He caught and partially ate his first one last week, eliciting a curious mixture of pride and disgust from Petra. If only he'd learn to do the same with gophers!

We've finshed the latticework on both sides of the patio. All that remains is to install a ring of misters around the perimeter and we'll be ready for the summer heat. Rusty takes a well-deserved break from his guard duties.

My daughter, Jennifer, is coming down on weekends to help Petra with her spring chores. Here she relaxes on the patio, deeply immersed in her electronic thingy texting with her friends.

Warmer weather has brought the need for more frequent watering, along with new infestations of pests that demand constant monitoring and the careful application of targeted pesticides. Petra's busiest season is upon her.