A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.





Thursday, May 23, 2019

Western Redbud in Bloom and Pink Snow

One of the smaller trees in our front yard is a Western Redbud. It's on the Southwest corner of our house and has wonderful structure and enough summer foliage to provide dappled sunshine at its base.

For a few weeks in Spring though it's truly a showstopper. From about Mid April to the first part of May it is completely covered in delicate, tiny pink blossoms. The picture below is from late April.
As with all Spring blooming plants the flowers gave way to leaves and the tree shed the tiny pink blossoms. The blossoms were so numerous that they coated the ground below. There were so many fallen spent flowers that they caught on other small plants and shrubs and made them look like they had pink flowers too.
The flowers all fell off in the space of a week or two and coated the ground below in what looks like a fine dusting of pink snow.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Shadowfax and the Sliding Rump

I've watched Shadowfax nap over the course of this morning. She initially started fully in the bed, warmly covered in her blankie. Over the course of a few hours here twitching and dream-squirrel-chasing made her rump slowly slide out of bed onto the floor.
Shadowfax was nonplussed by all this though, she napped right on through it. We had a big day yesterday; hours and hours of romping in the backyard exploring, chasing squirrels, and playing fetch n' catch. She's probably pretty exhausted, but should have those pittie batteries fully recharged in no time.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Shaak Ti Napping in the Mulch

We've had a lovely stretch of Summer like weather over the past week, upper 80's and even 90's. And Shaak Ti has taken full advantage of this by dusting off her mulch napping skills.
She's lost nothing over the winter, her mulch napping skills are in top form.And yes we have many dog beds outside (both in the sun and in the shade), some area rugs on the patio, and numerous less-mulchy places to nap. But Shaak Ti prefers a more natural napping spot.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Japanese Maple Haircut

We're going to take slight detour today. Don't worry, we'll have a resolution to the backyard mystery project in the next week (maybe two weeks).  And the deaf dogs will certainly have antics to relay to our faithful readers. Today though...our Japanese maple.

The centerpiece of our backyard is good size lace leaf Japanese Maple, variety unknown. I've greatly appreciated these plants for a number of years but never lived in a place where they were viable options. Zone 10 Southern California was a bit too warm (though you could grow a few varieties) and Zone 4 North Dakota was too cold (though again, you could grow a few varieties). We planted two more Japanese Maples last year "Emmett's Pumpkin" and "Pung Kil". I'm also going to check out this book the next time I'm at the library.

This Japanese Maple was here when we moved and has been around for a while. The previous owners didn't seem to to more than give it the occasional bowl haircut. The picture below is our Japanese Maple in early March (before the construction project started) after an overnight rain, the drops of water glistened in the morning sun.
The bowl cut looked good enough and it was a majestic draping form. The tree itself has 4 seasons of visual interest and the leaves go from red to light green in Spring, darken through the Summer, and turn shades of gold and red in Fall. Giving it a proper trim was somewhere on my mental to-do list, but there were just so many other things that needed to be completed first. A contractor who was in the backyard consulting on our secret not-yet-announced big announcement gave me a hard time about its shabby condition. He stopped just short of saying I was doing a disservice to this lovely plant.
So Alycia and I spent a few hours pulling out dead branches, cutting off dead limbs, and clearing out the debris and leaves. What a difference it made. I didn't realize what an awesome structure it had underneath, the twisting branches off the main trunk look fantastic.
This is how it looked in mid-April, new growth had mostly filled it out.  The leaves will continue to gradually change color throughout the Spring and Summer and then put on a brilliant show for Fall.
Here's how it looks today in the second week of May in the dappled morning light. The leaves are a mixture of green, pale yellow, and maroon on this side. The West facing side that gets more afternoon sun has decidedly more deeply maroon leaves. It's a fantastic plant to have in the backyard with its appearance changing weekly.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Garden Project - Phase One Completed

Phase one of our big garden project is completed. The work crew is cleaning up and moving some dirt around, today but the important piece is finished.
This picture may leave you with more questions than answers. That's OK. Phase Two should only take a few days, so our big reveal will be sooner rather than later. But we need to coordinate a couple of moving parts to get Phase Two going.