microb's blog

Last Saturday was a better Day
Posted on Mar 14, 2018 3:35 PM

That last blog was posted last Friday I think because Saturday turned out to be not too bad. A few glimpses of the sun and dry. Kevin came over and we managed to get a tarp stretched across the roof of the rain shelter shed in the forest and another tarp tent put up down on the bottom 60. We were also able to patch a hole in the fence line and found three more pig holes that will get patched AS SOON AS THE RAIN STOPS. Anyway, back to Saturday - we dug out some clumping bamboo roots and giant shell ginger roots. Kevin got two bamboos and one ginger and I replanted a bamboo and ginger out in the forest.
The director of our local Botanical Garden brought over a friend from the mainland to look around the gardens and forest. I was kind of flattered that he felt my garden worthy of showing to east coast friends. Certainly different from weather that they are currently having.
Pond number 3 has sprung a leak. Water level dropped by half. That's one our biggest ponds and will take a lot of effort to move fish, empty and reline.
Started to rain lightly late on Saturday, sky became grey with thick high cloud and it has not stopped raining since. Its a bit warmer but over the last three weeks we have not seen the sun for more that probably 4 hours total. The current rainy spell is not heavy but it is constant. Forecast says we might see the sun this weekend but than another system comes in middle of next week. At least pond #3 has regained some water with run off from the section of our roof that feeds into it.
Washed off a bamboo cane this morning. Its 6 ft long and about 6 inches across. The hollow middle is about 4 inches across. I'm going to put them on Craigslist and see if I can attract some crafts folks who might want to cut them into pieces and make bamboo craft items. $40 each sounds good but we shall see. I've tried to become a craftsman but don't really have the time and patience. Here's my effort, I don't think I've posted these before but both are now over in my sister home in England.
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Dreary weather depression
Posted on Mar 9, 2018 11:38 PM

The sky is still grey, it is still raining (almost all day today) and now the added misery of being cold. Did not go above 65f today with an added wind chill factor. No yard work, ground is soggy.
Tomorrow is forecast to be drier but no sun, Sunday a few showers no sun - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday more heavy rain and possible flooding forecast which could go into Thursday.
Might get below 60f tonight.
We have had periods of weather like this about 6 times in the last 25 years so I know it will come to an end
So today was spent cleaning windows, painting the workshop and making progress on a large latchhook rug.
On the bright side an Orchid Cactus bloomed today (not sure why - I would have climbed back inside my bud and waited a week)
We also got the certificate confirming we are a Wildlife Habitat. Will be mounting the laminated copy of a board and placing on a tree near the gateway.
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Posted on Mar 6, 2018 4:37 PM

Ok, remember Saturday was Bamboo harvest day, well it rained most of the day Sunday but yesterday was just like Saturday, cloudy but dry and cool.
So yesterday was a repeat of Saturday, Kevin wanted more bamboo so we played dueling chainsaws and took out the same quantity as Saturday. Kevin is taking 8 ft canes and splitting them long ways and nailing them to a piece of fencing. Looks really smart. I harvested about 20 more starts from the upper nodes of Oldhamii and should try and get them in the ground today between showers.
I cut the second Brandisii cane into eight six foot lengths (yes we got that second one down after a lot of pulling and tugging) now have to bring them into a dry area to dry out.
While Kevin was here he raked up rotting bamboo leaves to mulch his yard which saves me some work so we both benefit from this gardening bartering.
A friend called me the other day wanting some help in his yard. Really nice guy with some medical issues which has stopped him from continuing a really nice landscaping job in his yard. He offered to pay me for the help so this morning I drove out to his house to see what needed doing. Great thing is this guy lives in a community of homes on the Volcano Village golf course. 4000 ft elevation, cool, a mile from the erupting volcano and nice scenic views of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.
Had a nice walk around his yard and I nearly fell over when I saw Daffodils blooming. I have not seem growing, blooming Daffodils since I left England 40 year ago. The temps do get down into the 40s in Volcano. He also has Dahlias, Roses and he says maybe Tulips.
I was kind of a no brainer to offer my services every other Tuesday for 3 hours and $60.
So I'm hoping today to get Bamboo into the ground and clear up yesterdays trimmings, subject to weather.
Kevin will be back on Friday and we will be doing some forest shed repairs and hopefully some fencing repairs. He reckons he owes me two 1/2 days of labor before he returns to Seattle in early April.

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One Day outside
Posted on Mar 4, 2018 6:17 PM

Yesterday turned out to be a really great day when compared to the previous two weeks.
Sun and cloud up til about 3.30pm and then the rain started again and its raining on and off all day today.
Back to yesterday, Kevin came over and we attacked the back bamboo. He helped me rake up the leaves and debris from previous activities and then we got around to harvesting. We took down four of five Oldhamii. Kevin cuts the canes into 8 ft lengths that he can use for his fencing project and I focus on the top third of the cane and harvest the growing nodes. Yes there are actually roots growing out of the nodes 30 ft in the air with new growth showing. A combination of continuous wet humid environment, bamboo leaves getting caught and maybe just a sprinkle of chicken manure from the perching birds. I was able to harvest 25 new starts that are now in the ground, out back in my mini bamboo nursery field. Now 50 plants growing. Just waiting for the new real canes.
In addition to the Oldhamii we cut the canes of two giant Brandisii. We could not pull them down as the tops were entangles so when Kevin left they were just hanging there.
Later in the afternoon I went out and decided that there must be a way and sure enough with some pulling and swinging and some help from the bamboo gods the largest one pulled free and fell to the ground. I got 5 6 foot lengths cut and moved them under cover for drying over the next 12 months. I'm hoping by the time they dry I will have found my calling for bamboo crafts - hey I can dream a little.
The cane that came down measure somewhere between 65 and 70 feet long on the ground. It would have been three foot taller had we not cut it down as the stump that was left was about the height. Not bad. Now I have to go out and bring down the second one.
Amaryllis are putting up new blooms. the 10th bloom of the year is on the dining table and that one already has an emerging second bloom. There are three more plants with blooms showing in the potting greenhouse so we will be rotating pots and have a nice table display for some weeks to come.
Orchid cactus are showing a good number of buds. Deadheaded 15 blooms so far this year and posted some pics on the Epiphyllum forum. First night bloomer opened last night but by the time I spent an hour on the phone with my 90 year old Dad in England the bloom had wilted. More coming though.
Two new canes appeared in the pot of variegated running bamboo.
No constructive gardening going on until the ground dries out. Looks like that will be next weekend.

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Posted on Mar 3, 2018 12:48 PM

No blog for 2 weeks or more. Well nothing to blog about. Today we saw the sun for the first time in two weeks and it has been raining almost continuously for those two weeks. Flooding rains and thunderstorms were the norm. Road washed out, streams flowing. Over a foot of rain in one of those weeks. We are still forecast to get rain on every day for the next week but not so heavy.
What did i accomplish. Two weeks ago I finished clearing an area in the forest for new plantings and dug out two bamboos with the help of a friend. He took his rooted bamboo and put it in the ground. My four root balls are still sitting in the forest waiting to go into the ground. That's if they have not sunk.
Tidied up one greenhouse of Orchid Cactus
Yesterday I skimmed weed off of two large round ponds and removed Elodia (stringy leafy underwater plant?) that was restricting fish swimming area in another pond. The weed mass is good for hiding baby fish and tadpoles but enough is enough. The goldfish and koi had put out signs asking for the pond to be cleared. Moved some of the weed from #2 to #3 pond. #3 has Talapia and they will devour the pond weed.
And that's about it for two weeks of yard time.
Oh, we did go to Lowes in Kona last week (nice sun on that side of the island) Scored a Red Jade vine for $5. Marked $15 but had died at some point due to neglect. Not quite dead though. New growth was starting to appear and there is hope.
Cancelled one volunteer day at the botanical gardens due to heavy rain. Not safe to drive. Went this Thursday and experienced the tropical rain forest gardens in tropical rains. A dream come true. Amazingly beautiful.
Will try and get help from my snowbird friend, Kevin, today. Hope to clear debris from under giant bamboo clumps and then harvest some canes. He needs 8 foot lengths for a fence and I need some giant pieces to put under cover for drying so I can practice some bamboo crafts. Still looking for inspiration but the spirit is willing. Lots of ideas on youtube but those folks are artists.

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