microb's blog

Ponds, Pickerels and other things
Posted on Dec 8, 2018 6:37 PM

Cold nights (just below 60) sunny, warm days and strong breezes, very little rain. Start off the morning in jeans and change to shorts midday.
It was a week ago today that I put the new liner in pond #3. Its now has about 15 inches of water or about half full. Just shows how dry it has been.
On Thursday I was allowed to raid a friends garden for Vireya Cuttings. The friend is renting the home from a Vireya, palm collector. Ended up with 46 cuttings from various hybrids. an orchid plant and a new bamboo plant. All are now in the ground AWAITING RAIN.
Today I processed the Pickerel clump that I removed from #2 pond Ended up with 16 smaller rooted pieces. 11 are in buckets or plastic bag lined pots and 5 pieces are placed in other ponds awaiting a formal location. I'm hoping for the ones in buckets to freshen up over the next few weeks and then I put them on Craigslist. Amongst the Pickerel was some red marsh Lobelia. That has also been temporarily placed in ponds to keep it alive until I can process it into pots.
I think both the Pickerel and the Lobelia are growing to double the size of mainland examples I've seen on youtube. Its that tropical effect I think.
Next step is to take a good size, red night blooming water lily that is crammed into a 5 foot kiddie pool and put it into pond #2 where the Pickerel came out.
Vines that I trained up a tall pine tree are getting out of control so I'm cutting some of the stems at head height to allow the tops to die and thin out. Those being trimmed include blue Thurmbergia, morning glory and orange passion vine. I'm leaving the yellow jade and the fruiting passion vines. The yellow jade is high in the tree but is in the process of seeding and I need those seeds. The fruiting passion vine is relatively new to the tree and has yet to reach its full potential.
Now I have to pick my next battle. Will it be moving palms from pots to the garden on the other side of the bridge OR rescue an orange Vireya that is being choked by a bamboo, OR take a walk into the forest to the old man cave and harvest some of my own Vireya cuttings. I would like to dig out those two Vireyas and bring them closer to home as we are never out there to enjoy them OR do I continue to take bags of mulch out to the young bamboo plants to encourage next years new growth OR do I clear more forest to make room for more plants OR...……. Oh forget it. I need a rest.
Life is good.

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Posted on Dec 6, 2018 12:08 AM

We are getting some beautiful weather but very little rain. Nice blue skies, moderate trade winds and not too hot.
Pond #3 now has 12 inches of water in the bottom, but noticed two large air bubbles breaching the surface of the water. So slipped into the pond this morning, just socks on the feet, removed a couple of heavy rocks from the bottom and coaxed the air bubbles to the side of the pond and listened to the trapped air gasp its way up the side and the plastic flattened itself to the bottom. Put the rocks back and "voila" as they say. Water was not too cold but got wet to just above the knees. Now we just need more rain.
Did some weed trimming along a garden path that goes to Sunny's grave. Discovered a whole patch of young Costus plants. Removed the smaller ones and got them started in pots, 24 of them, and seven of the bigger ones I put straight into the ground in the forest.
Noticed pots in the potting greenhouse were drying out so did a quick bit of watering, found one Orchid Cactus in bloom and the Fuschia seedlings are doing well.
This afternoon I removed a large Pickeral plant from pond number 2. Not sure of the spelling but it has a nice blue bloom spike.. The plant had been planted in the pond in an old china crock pot years ago. The kitchen Crock pot had been placed on a hollow tile which rested on the bottom the pond. I had to chop and pull at the massive plant and ended up with about 10 good size clumps. I'm hoping to put those in buckets and sell some on Craigslist. Now the fish will have so much more space to swim around in and maybe there is room for another waterlily. There is another similar size clump of Pickeral at the end of the pond so that may have to be removed also.
Noticed that some Vireya's are starting to bloom. Nice to see some of the hybrids putting on the first good show since buying them a couple of years ago
Skimmed the surface weed off the bottom round pond yet again and when combined that with the Water Hyacinth I removed from the upper round ponds a couple of days ago. There was a good size wheelbarrow load for the ducks.
Pig fence still seems to be holding on the other side of the bridge (or are the pigs just not in our neighborhood) Still reluctant to put soft foliage plants across the bridge but do have four or five palm trees to put in the ground from their pots. Just need to get the name tags printed up.

You can see the Pickeral plant in pond #2 on the left side
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Vireya Bloom

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If I picked the right photo it is the Pickeral plant again

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Pickeral Bloom

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Pond Finished, Yeh!
Posted on Dec 3, 2018 1:50 PM

What has happened in the last two weeks. Last week Saturday and Sunday nights the pigs came in on the other side of the bridge. Very discouraging as I had been working overtime to make the fence line pig proof. After some soul searching I decided I would not give up so found the entry point, blocked it and spent a number of hours last week continuing to pile forest debris, branches etc up against the outside of the fence to strengthen the dead hedge I am constructing. So far no more pigs, but of course I have not checked since last Thursday.
Cleared some more forest on this side of the bridge and was able to move my blue tape about 6ft. The tape is the dividing line between cleared area ready to plant and the forested area still being cleared. I can now move more plants into the cleared area.
The volunteer work at The Gardens is becoming boring. My manager actually called my house last Thursday and said not to come as he would not be there and there were no work assignments. I had left by the time he called so I turned up anyway (with donuts for the guys). The manager was just leaving and asked me to trim up some orchids. He also mentioned that a directive from management said that volunteers can no long take plants that are either being discarded or needed rescuing. By the time I had finished cleaning the orchids and had a couple of donuts another volunteer showed up. So we sat and talked story until 11am then left. Twila, the other volunteer, wanted to see my garden so she followed me home and got the 10c tour.

The past Saturday was "pond day". Dry weather promised to I placed the rocks around the edge of the pond that would placed in the bottom to keep the liner in place, got the hollow tile blocks in place that would sit on the edge of the pond to hold the line in place and then jumped into the pond to bale out as much of the remaining water as I could. Next step was to get my wife to assist in refolding the 60ft by 20ft sheet of 6mm plastic so it became a double thickness 30ft by 20ft piece. Folded the liner and carried it to the pond. Placed an old 20ft by 10 ft tarpaulin in the bottom of the pond over the old liner for added protection against sharp edges and then proceeded to put in place the new liner. First we placed the folded liner along the middle of the pond from one end to the other. My wife is up top, I'm in the pond. We unfold the liner from the middle outward to one side. I then get out of my rubber boots and end up standing on the new liner in just my socks. Don't want dirty boots putting holes in the new liner. Throw the boots topside and then we unfold the liner in the other direction to complete the unfolding. Next step is to place precut pads of shade cloth at points around the edge and down the middle on the bottom and carefully place large rocks on the bottom. We then stretched the liner up against the 3tf deep sides and place the hollow tile on the liner around the top edge. So there I am, in the pond, in my socked feet ready to get out. Hoist a knee up onto the side, swing the other leg up and then stand on the edge of the new liner to step back into my boots. Project finished at 4pm, light rain started at 4.30pm. That was Saturday, its now Monday and there is still only 6 inches of water in the bottom.

Yesterday was Christmas decorating day. Got the tree up and lit, lots of garlands and wreaths around the doors and door ways and last thing hauled two suitcases and 15 buckets or ornaments up from storage ready to decorate the trees and tables and hang ornaments on the window garland.

Managed to fit it an hour of weeding the dome during light rain yesterday. Ended up with two wheelbarrows full of weeds. The dome is the greenhouse where I house my orchid cactus hanging pots and I am ashamed to say it has been neglected while I have been clearing forest. But I will win it back but with a fewer number of pots. I trimmed some of the larger plants last week and took some cuttings so there are some positive things happening.

If I can get time in the yard today I need to empty the wheelbarrow and go poke in some cuttings I created yesterday by doing some trimming. Then I need to cross the bridge (avoiding the Trolls) and check out the pig fences.

Forgot to mention that the excess plastic will be trimmed and neatly tucked under the hollow tile once the pond has filled. All that excess plastic down the edge of the pond will be pushed tight against the sides by the water and will look neat and flat. Same with the bottom

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On the farside of the pond is the bare end of the tree trunk that had been spanning the pond. The missing piece has been cut into 4 inch slices and I now have 30 stepping logs in the forest. I think I have enough remaining log pieces to make another 30 steps.

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Happy Thanksgiving
Posted on Nov 22, 2018 2:43 PM

Yes, its Thanksgiving morning and great weather for cooking turkey. Cloudy, cool (70f) breezy and passing heavy rain showers. Just finished holding the turkey while my wife filled it with stuffing and it should be in the oven in the next few minutes. While the turkey was being prepped I was cleaning large sliding glass doors and picture windows ready for Xmas decorations. Tomorrow the Thanksgiving décor comes down and xmas decorating starts. All outside lights are up and working (our house is not visible to the street and our three distance neighbors so unless they have a drone we are the only viewers of our lights).

Daily paper weighs a ton today. When I went down to the front gate to retrieve it from the box the rain has paused and the neighborhood was really quiet. The only person visible was a man who lives alone in a house down the street, standing on his front porch. Gave him a wave and got one in return. Rarely see him out with his two small dogs. The newspaper boasted on its front page that it contained two hundred pages of great deals and holiday specials. All the Black Friday ads. Surely in the modern spirit of Thanksgiving. All I look for are the local headlines and the comics.

Yesterday was a nice sunny cool day and got too much forest clearing done between 9 and 10am. Beat myself into submission and spent the rest of the day complaining that I had used up all my energy too early. Still managed to trim the path past the bottom round pond which resulted in an armful of Hibiscus, Ti and Azalea cutting to push into the ground in the newly cleared forest area.

I need a break in the weather to fold the new pond liner. Currently it is a 60ft by 20 ft piece of black 6mm plastic. I need to spread it out, fold it in half to measure 30x 20 ft and then fold the 20ft width into the middle from both sides, giving me a 30ft by 2ft black sausage shape. When I place it in the pond I lay the 30ft length down the middle of the pond and then unfold it towards each side to get it centered. I can then walk on the new liner in soft socks pushing it into the corners and smoothing the side and bottom to cover the pond. I then place heavy rocks gently on the bottom olong the sides and down the middle to stop the water table from pushing up the liner during heavy rain. (Does that make sense).
Yard work is pretty much on hold for today. Will eat dinner at about 2pm and watch the parades. Just the two of us.

Hopefully tomorrow will be drier. If not its off to the potting greenhouse or the dome for clean up and potting activities. Ooops, almost forgot. Also have to help dismantle our Christmas Village so that the picture window behind can be cleaned. Then I will be playing bucket carrier as Thanksgiving decorations are taken back to their storage location in our 40ft container and the buckets of Christmas decorations are hauled into the house (Lots of Costco laundry detergent buckets)

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Weather ups and downs
Posted on Nov 19, 2018 1:32 PM

Well, its domestic Monday today, the one day of the week when my wife and I focus on house cleaning. For me thats vacuuming the down stairs living area and the stairway inside the house. Our living area is elevated so we have a front door which opens to interior stairs coming up and a back door with interior stairs coming up. Then I vacuum the laundry room/dog room, which has washer drier, waterheater and three small pens for my our Pekingese, Chihuaha and Black Pomeranian, and then vacuum the kitchen. Robin does the rest of the house.
I think sweep the back and front decks overlooking the gardens and spray for spiders and ants.
Over the last couple of weeks in the garden its been a bit of this and that. We had a dry, warm spell for about a week and now we have a cloudy cool spell with showers.
All is good go far over the bridge. No pigs coming in and I have been able to make 30 stepping stones for the muddier pathways. 9 are in place and 21 are stacked in the forest to be put in place today, I hope.
Had fun (really?) bucketing out the sludge from pond #3. Rescued some more fish and hundreds of tadpoles with heads the size of golf balls. Finally got it finished and now I wait for another dry spell to put in the new liner. Currently the pond is back to a third full of water after the latest rain, but it is pure water and most of it will drain away through holes in the bottom. So a dry spell will enable me to remove the remainder and put in the new liner. Just have to wait again. Took a fair bit of energy to cut up the pine tree trunk that spanned the pond. That were I got most of the slices for stepping stones. Picked the mid point to start the process. Could not start at one end as the log would fall into the pond as soon as lost the support from resting on the one of the two sides. As I slice the log from the mid point (standing in the empty pond) the slices fell to the bottom the pond and had to be hauled out by hand. It would take all day to take 4 inch slices so I ended up cutting into 12 inches pieces for future slicing. Those 12 inch pieces were really heavy to haul out from the 3 ft deep pond (Hope all that makes sense).
Started some Fushcia seeds a couple of weeks ago. Now have six seedlings ready to move to individual pots.
Did some more forest clearing. Almost ready to plant up another area.
Cleaned the Dome garden but still have remove piles of trimmings.
Did my usual volunteer work at The Gardens last week and scored some more Costas. Not sure if I have the energy to dig out the rest of the Black Bamboo root. May try again in a couple of weeks. Will miss this week due to Thanksgiving.
Lots of weedwacking to catch up with and also bamboo leaves to be raked up.
Took down 6 large banana plants last week. They grow to twelve feet high, make a nice garden statement but don't produce much fruit in our colder, wet climate.
Bamboo growing season has just about finished. Now have to mulch and fertilize the plants in preparation for the next spring and summer new growth.
A few Vireya are blooming here and there and Azaleas and starting to bloom again.


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